The Waikato is situated south of Auckland and reaches from the Coromandel Peninsula in the North East to the Westcoast. It includes Lake Taupo (New Zealands largest lake) and Tongariro National Park.
The West Coast offers some stunning black sand beaches and world famous reef breaks. The East Coast with the Coromandel peninsula has mainly white sandy beaches, lots of coves and also offers plenty of good surf. The center of the North Island is dominated by volcanoes and lakes and is a very active thermal area.
The Coromandel Peninsula is exposed to swell from the East and North East and offers fantastic surf. With its countless bays, steep cliffs and small scattered islands it is also a paradise for SUP paddlers who want to explore the coastline . There are places to windsurf too, though most of the time you will be by yourself and the stars need to align to get really good conditions (same as in Northland).
Raglan on the Westcoast is famous for its left point break and is the first stop for many overseas surfer. It can be very crowded – please respect the rules and the locals! If you want to SUP surf or Windsurf, go either further out in the bay or to the beach breaks to avoid tensions. For windsurfing, you can also sail in the rivermouth, which is very popular with kiters. Here a strong tidal current runs against the wind (predominantly outgoing tide with westerly wind) and you can go on a reach without ending further downwind. Be careful, if the wind dies or if you break something, you are quickly on your way out to sea.
Raglan harbour is a fantastic place to explore by SUP. The township itself has plenty of flair and good places to eat and hang out.
Lake Taupo in the central North Island is the caldera of a super volcano and the largest lake by surface in New Zealand.
Best time to travel: All year round for the coastal areas, October – May for Lake Taupo
Other things to do:
Check out the Bridal Veils falls in Raglan
Beautiful landscape in Coromandel
Soak in one of many natural hot springs or spas
Explore Tongariro National Park