Water Nomads New Zealand | Best Places To Wingfoil

BEST PLACES TO WINGFOIL IN NEW ZEALAND

Location Feature

Finding yourself in New Zealand on a well earned holiday? Looking for the best place to go wingfoiling? No need to look any further, we have the lowdown for you on where you need to be! Where to find the best location with reliable wind, and the nicest crew on the water. 

When you are thinking about your preferred place to go winging, it is more likely than not your local. You know exactly in which conditions make it good, where the reefs and sandbars are that you want to avoid, and all your winging buddies are there too to have a natter on and off the water. The moment you travel somewhere else, you are on your own. There are several spots to choose from where you are staying – where should you go? Where is the best launching spot? If you happen to travel by yourself or with a non-winging partner, it can also get a bit frustrating, even when you see other people on the water. One way to avoid all of those worries is to go to a well-known resort. Another one is to book a trip with friends who already know the spot. Or you could join a group trip (such as a Water Nomads Surfari Trip) or approach some locals and get the insider tips, on and off the water. 

In New Zealand you haven’t got the option of going to a resort – this sort of facility doesn’t exist here for wingfoiling or other watersports. There is no purpose built accommodation just across from the beach where you can rent equipment, ready rigged for you (and sometimes even carried down to the water for you!), and a good crew of like minded people hanging out at the bar. That is because New Zealand is best explored by road trip – you don’t want to limit yourself to just one spot in this amazing country. Go out and explore! Here we make it easy for you by pointing you in the direction of the most popular wingfoil spots. These spots are usually close to cities/towns, rather than the super spectacular and remote places our Surfari Trips would take you. You will most likely meet local wingfoilers here which will happy to share tips and insider knowledge. But do be aware: most of the time you still won’t be able to rent gear on the spot! So best bring your own gear or rent from us for the time of your holiday if you want to explore what our amazing country has to offer!

So, this is for all you individual explorers – a selection of New Zealand’s best wingfoiling spots (from north to south). Our criteria was ease of access, reliable wind without requiring too much local knowledge, and other people on the water for good company. 

Auckland:

New Zealands biggest city, also known as the City of Sails, has got a very strong maritime background. Auckland is located between and around two natural harbours. In the East, you will find the popular Waitemata Harbour, that leads into the Hauraki Gulf and ultimately into the Pacific Ocean. To the West, the vast Manukau Harbour.  This harbour is a lot less popular and populated and opens up to the Tasman Sea. Although getting as close as 1.5km at the narrowest point, the tides on these 2 harbours are more than 3 hours apart!

Aucklands mild climate allows watersports all year round and more often than not you will have at least 10-15 knots of wind (except for February and March when it can get very becalmed). The countless bays and harbours offer suitable spots for any skill level in any wind direction, and there are always people on the water. On most beaches, the water quality isn’t the best after heavy rain (you can check the water quality here).

Here is our pick for Aucklands most popular wingfoil spots:  

The Whangaparoa Peninsula ca. 30min North of Auckland sticks out into the Pacific Ocean and offers countless beaches. The most popular ones are Manly (W-NW) and Shakespear (SW). Due to the easy accessibility, downwinders are very popular. 

Hatfields Beach just north of the Whangaparoa Peninsula is mainly popular in Easterlies for waves (but can also be nice in an offshore wind with flat water). 

Kohimarama: Flat water, great people, good vibe. Plenty of restaurants in the area. 

Lake Pupuke: A small fresh water lake on the North Shore / Takapuna. This spot is home to New Zealands first wingfoil school (Madloop Windsurfing) and can be very crowded. However, if you value flat water, no tides and deep water immediately together with a crowd of frothing wingers, this is a great place to go to. Water quality in summer can be a bit marginal and the wind is usually gusty.

Point Chevalier: Safe easy Harbour spot in any wind direction except for SouthEast. There is a popular windsurf and wingfoil school based at the beach (Auckland Windsurfing) and a great watersports shop just up the road (NZ Boardstore). At low tide, the walk is a bit long over the reef, but you get rewarded with relatively flat water (especially in a SW-wind). 

Raglan:

The small coastal town of Raglan is primarily famous with surfers for its point break. But those conditions that are great for surfing are also fantastic for winging. Stay a bit wider and don’t get in the way of the surfers or just pick any of the waves further out in the bay. Not into waves just yet? There is also a big Harbour in Raglan with fantastic flat water conditions to learn, but be aware of the strong current, especially at outgoing tide. A westerly seabreeze picks up most sunny summer afternoons. Drop into the local shop Adrenalin Alley to get the latest update on wind and tides as well on where to launch best in the expected conditions.

Wingfoiling in Raglan
Photo: Antoine Jaubert
NZ Map - Raglan

Wellington:

New Zealands capital and second biggest town has a fantastic cultural scene, with plenty of shows and concerts on offer and a great selection of bars and restaurants. It is also known as “Windy Wellington”, so yes, there is wind, and often plenty of it! A lot of the watersports is happening not only in the city, but in the wider Wellington area. Be prepared to drive, depending on the wind direction.

Here are our top spots where you are likely to meet other wingers in the right conditions:

Whitirea / Plimmerton (north of Wellington on the Kapiti Coast): Those are 2 different access areas to pretty much the same spot – the entrance of the Porirua Harbour. Whitirea is on the South side, Plimmerton on the North side and super easy to reach from the highway. A Northwest wind produces nearly always a rideable foil friendly wave that breaks over a sandbar. However, you don’t need to negotiate a nasty shorebreak and equipment destroying waves, there is safe launching and landing in flat water! How good is that!?! If you start from the Whitirea side, you can stay close to shore and have learner friendly flat water in Onehunga Bay. 

Lyall Bay: Right next to the airport in Wellington, this spot is super popular with surfers in a Southerly swell and with all sorts of windpowered watercraft in a Southerly blow. Beware, the shorebreak can be nasty, check with the locals on site where exactly to launch from to keep your gear in one piece. This is not a beginners spot when it’s blowing, however the waves can be super fun for experienced riders!

Wingfoiling Wellington
NZ map - Wellington

Nelson:

Situated on the top of the South Island, Nelson has a relatively mild climate. It doesn’t get a lot of strong wind, but it often gets enough for foiling (especially during the summer months). Hence there is a good crew of locals on the water most days. Popular places to foil are the Nelson Yachtclub (where you can also get all sort of good advice, rent some gear and get lessons), Backbeach (the far end of Tahunanui Beach) and Atawhai (flatwater) at high tide. The waves at the Cut just outside the harbour entrance can be awesome!

Photo: Tim Fraser-Harris, Rider: Callum Robertson

Christchurch:

Although Christchurch is the third largest city of New Zealand, with around 400,000 people it still isn’t very big. It’s easy to get around and you can find everything you need, from accommodation to amenities, from cultural experiences to shopping opportunities. 

There are plenty of different options in Otautahi (the Maori name for Christchurch), and during the summer months it can be windy nearly every day. Experienced wingers have a choice of going out at South Brighton Beach or Sumner to catch some waves. Alternatively you go to Lyttleton Harbour, the caldera of an ancient volcano. In an Easterly, it’s always windier there than anywhere else. Naval Point in Lyttleton is super popular and the place to be if you want company on the water – someone else will be there. 

For learning the Estuary offers perfect flat water. However, a short mast (max. 60cm) is recommended and you will need high tide. It also helps to know where the channels are. 

Queenstown:

Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, offers plenty of action packed activities. From activities under your own steam like montainbiking or hiking, to having professionals push you off a platform for a bungy jump or blasting through narrow canyons in a jetboat, you can find it all in Queenstown. Situated on Lake Wakatipu, it also offers plenty of opportunity and different spots for watersports. Please note: You will need a good quality warm wetsuit. Despite hot summer air temperatures, the water temperature usually hangs around 8-10 degrees, and doesn’t get above 12 degrees Celsius even at the height of summer.

Lake Wakatipu is a very long, S-shaped lake. Different spots work in different wind directions, expect to drive to get to the right place.

Glenorchy: Famous for speed sailing, this spot at the river mouth of the Dart River offers super flat offshore conditions in a Northwesterly. The rigging area near the jetty can be a bit sheltered from the wind. 45km from Queenstwon.

Twenty Five Mile Creek (Mt Creighton): This spot is good in anything from the West. The carpark is about 28km west of Queenstown along the Glenorchy Road, just on the South side of the 25 Mile Creek bridge.

Jardines (Homestead Bay): This spot at the end of the Jacks Point subdivision (just south of Queenstown) is super popular with windsurfers, kiters and wingers when the wind comes from the South. The swells can build up to a reasonable size, great to tack upwind a bit and ride them back down into the bay. Not a beginners spot when it’s blowing, though relatively safe as you generally get blown into the bay and can do the walk of shame back (as long as you don’t go out too far. If you miss the peninsula, you are in trouble).

For more info about where to go around Queenstown, check the Southern Windriders Website here.

There are plenty more spots where people are winging in New Zealand. Due to the limited population in rural and small town areas, it is less likely to will meet other wingers by chance on the water at random places (though that doesn’t mean those places are not good – often the opposite!)

If you want to explore more off the beaten track, we highly recommend to join one of our Surfari Trips. We take you to our favourite places and show you the inns and outs of access, reading the weather and ensure you have a good time. If you prefer to explore on your own, your selection of desired spots would be possibly slightly different to the places we take you to. That’s mainly because some of the spots we go to are fairly remote and more likely than not you would be on your own. 

Looking to travel New Zealand? Check out Water Nomads for Watersports Rental and Surfari Trips!

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