9 Best Surf Spots In New Zealand

new zealand surf spots
Elah Angelica
Elah Angelica 
| 5 min read

Known to be one of the places that excite the imagination, New Zealand is home to enchanting views and endless possibilities. It’s a country where you can have the pleasure of hiking on the glacier, taking an evening dip to a natural hot pool, and indulging in riding the waves. Witness something magical while taking a boat through a cave of glow worms in the spectral land of Hobbiton. Going around the country is not a problem since New Zealand is a reasonably compact country that makes navigating easy. If ever you get tired of city life and need a week-long vacation, you should consider making a stop here. Spice up your life and try new things while you still have the means. Check out our list of the best surf spots in New Zealand to start your adventure.

1. Surf Highway 45

Whether you’re looking for the perfect spot to enjoy riding the ocean waves or be one with nature, Surf Highway 45 is the place to be. Aside from its stunning coastline with black sandy beaches defined by rugged mountains and swelling waves, there’s so much more to experience in this remarkable place. If ever you get tired of playing in the water, you can enjoy taking a scenic drive where you can marvel at the shorelines. There’s also a lot of nearby attractions you can stop by while en-route to Surf Highway 45, such as Lake Rotomanu, The Waiwhakaiho River, and Taranaki Thermal Pools.

Surf Highway 45

Address: 45 Surf Highway, Manaia 4612, New Zealand

2. Mangamaunu Bay, Kaikoura

One of the favorite surfing spots of both tourists and locals alike, Mangamaunu Bay, is a top-rated boulder beach in New Zealand. Its consistent waves can run for several hundred meters giving surfers a thrilling ride that they won’t forget. It has three main hollow sections known as Outsides, Middles, and Insides. Mangamaunu is adviseable for intermediate and expert surfers only, as its swelling waves can be overwhelming and difficult for beginners. It can get a little crowded, especially during the holidays. The best time to visit for the best weather is from November until the first week of April.

Mangamaunu Bay, Kaikoura

Address: Mangamaunu, 7371, New Zealand

Website: Mangamaunu Bay, Kaikoura

3. St. Clair Beach, Dunedin

St Clair Beach, Dunedin Otago New Zealand
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mr Bungle used under CC BY 2.5

Located just a few minutes from the city center, St. Clair is a popular spot for dining, exploring, swimming, and of course, surfing. Boasting a beautiful view of the lush blue space of the Pacific Ocean, St. Clair Beach lives up to its title as New Zealand’s most consistent surf break on any weather. Enjoy making its waves your playground during your visit. St. Clair has always been a go-to destination for travelers looking for leisure, refreshing walks, and dips in the cold sea. There are also cute cafes and bars lining the attractions to visit. When in need of time off from the hustle and bustle of the city streets, you can always visit St. Clair Beach in Dunedin.

St. Clair Beach, Dunedin

Address: St. Clair Beach, Dunedin 9012, New Zealand

Website: St. Clair Beach, Dunedin

4. Ninety Mile Beach, Northland

Ninety Mile Beach at Hukatere2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user User:Gadfium used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Stretching from Ahipara to Scott Point, Ninety Mile Beach is a fabled strip of a sandy beach inviting water frolickers around the globe. Beach activities range from surfing and swimming to bodyboarding. Aside from that, visitors can enjoy digging for shellfish during low tides or take a stroll in the small sand pathway that appears during low tides. The most important thing to do while in Ninety Mile Beach is to gaze around you and take in the breathtaking views. You can also indulge in a scenic drive to fully explore the beach.

Ninety Mile Beach, Northland

Address: Ninety Mile BeachNorthland 0484, New Zealand

Website: Ninety Mile Beach, Northland

5. Raglan

Raglan, New Zealand - panoramio - duncangalbraith (2)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user duncangalbraith used under CC BY 3.0

Catch a great wave or sip a warm espresso at Raglan, where a great time is guaranteed. Raglan is one of the liveliest surf towns in New Zealand, boasting a rich culture and a wide selection of cute cafes. It’s a surfing mecca for all types of surfers and it is a scenic area of black sandy beaches, ideal for travelers who love taking pictures. If there’s one thing you’ll immediately notice upon arriving in Raglan is that everything about it is picture-worthy. Also, if you have no surfing experience yet and you want to learn, go to Raglan Surf School and discover the proper ways of riding the waves.


Address: Raglan, New Zealand

Website: Raglan, Waikato

6. Te Arai, Auckland

Horse riders and surfers on Te Arai Beach
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Avenue used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Boasting pristine white sandy beaches, Te Arai is a well-known surfing spot in New Zealand. It’s an ideal spot for beginners, with its consistent and safe wave conditions. Travelers who are after a breather will love spending a pleasant day at Te Arai Beach. It also has a surfing school where you can learn the basic ways of riding the waves. There’s so much more to this scenic town other than surf spots. It’s home to many species of birds and plants, giving the place a more inviting ambiance. Some of the attractions you’ll enjoy visiting are Te Arai Point, Forestry, and Black Swamp, which are even more beautiful.

Te Arai, Auckland

Address: Te Arai, New Zealand

7. Lyall Bay, Wellington

Lyall Bay from Melrose, Wellington, New Zealand, 21 August 2005
Source: Photo by user Phillip Capper used under CC BY 2.0

One of the most popular beaches of Wellington, Lyall Bay is an incredible place to be, especially for travelers looking for time off away from the big city. It’s easily accessible and is on the main bus route for both travelers and locals alike, which makes traveling the place more pleasant. Surfers and swimmers will surely find their place at Lyall Bay, where it’s brimming with people all year round, specifically, when there’s a swell running. Aside from that, travelers can also enjoy scuba diving, windsurfing, and shellfish gathering. It’s a family-friendly spot open to the public.

Lyall Bay, Wellington

Address: Lyall Parade | Lyall Bay, Wellington 6003, New Zealand

Website: Lyall Bay, Wellington

8. Shipwreck Bay, Ahipara

Shipwreck Bay5
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user User:Gadfium used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

It’s a known fact to every surfer in New Zeland that Shipwreck Bay is one of the top 10 breaks to go to when missing riding the big waves. If you haven’t been here yet, it’s worth a visit. If there’s one thing you can expect about this beautiful place, it will be nothing but fun. Shipwreck Bay features two waves, with one being “Wreck Bay” and the other being “Peaks”. The ‘Wreck’ is a much softer, cruisy wave giving you a pleasant long ride. On the other hand, if you’re feeling adventurous, the 'Peaks’ offers you a cool take off with a formidable barrel section that will give you a long bumpy ride.

Shipwreck Bay, Ahipara

Address: Shipwreck Bay0481, New Zealand

9. Whangapoua Bay, Great Barrier Island

Whangapoua and bay Waikato
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Piotr Zurek used under CC BY 2.0

Whangapoua Beach, Great Barrier Island, is one of the Gulf’s most magical spots in New Zealand. Even though it is not an ideal venue for kids as it’s on the northernmost part of the island that is reachable by road, it’s still a beautiful place that’s perfect for a group of friends and couples. There’s a lot of things to experience and discoveries to make while in the vicinity. You can enjoy riding the smooth sailing waves, a morning stroll, and a morning dip. Some say that its setup is a downer, but its secludedness makes it a great place for travelers looking for a quiet time.

Whangapoua Bay, Great Barrier Island

Address: 765/767 Mabey Road, Great Barrier Island 0991, New Zealand

Website: Whangapoua Bay, Great Barrier Island

Chase the waves in New Zealand

If you’re one of those thrill-seekers, you might love giving New Zealand a shot. New Zealand is known for its surfing spots that will surely make you feel more alive with all the adrenaline-inducing activities there are to enjoy. Ever experience chasing the dawn while riding the waves? If not, New Zealand is the perfect place to try it. If ever you find yourself wanting some adventure, check out our list above of the best surf spots in New Zealand.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Elah Angelica Casallos is a Psychology student who hopes to see the world one day. Right now, she's currently exploring the world around her through writing. When she's not busy with school works...Read more

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