Camper Van Vacation New Zealand, Surf Tour New Zealand- Waterways Travel Images

Camper Van Vacation New Zealand, Surf Tour New Zealand- Waterways Travel

Maui Rental and Britz have four rental locations conveniently located from Auckland to Christchurch: two on the North Island and two on the South Island. While it’s possible to rent from any of these locations and cover a good part of both islands, let’s say you are renting from any of these locations and going a couple hundred miles up or down the east or west coast. This is the surf you will have access to:

Auckland is 70 miles as the crow flies from Raglan, 140 miles from Ahipara and 220 miles from Gisborne, which puts you within range of a lot of classic surf on both sides of the island. On the west coast, Raglan is considered one of the longest left points in the world. When groundswells march in from the Tasman Sea, Raglan is literally corduroy to the horizon and surfers test their legs with rides of over a minute. At the top of the North Island, Shipwreck Bay is beautiful left point at the south end of 90 Mile Beach and a cousin to Seaside, Oregon. Just south of Gisborne, Mahia Peninsula is an empty, beautiful stretch of coast that must have something going on, because Miki Dora spent a lot of time around here, and he wasn’t just gardening. Within that Ahipara/Raglan/Gisborne triangle there are dozens of great surfing areas, including Piha and the west coast beaches closest to Auckland, the East Cape, the Bay of Plenty, Whangamata, Mount Maunganui and Matakana Island on the East Coast. More nooks and crannies than a Thomas’ English muffin along both coasts.

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand. It looks like San Francisco because it’s a city built on several hills, and it also gets a tremendous amount of wind. For half the year, Wellington is scoured by winds over 60 KPH. The highest wind ever recorded there was 248 KPH. Assuming you are not hopping to the South Island from Wellington, from Wellington Mount Egmont is 140 miles as the Ring Wraiths fly to the northwest, and Gisborne is 254 miles to the northeast. Within that triangle are all the waves of the Taranaki Coast, which ring the base of the volcanic Mount Egmont: From Wanganui around to New Plymouth are a couple of dozen reefs, beachbreaks and river mouths. New Zealand prides itself on being one of the few areas in the world where you can surf and snowboard in the same day, and this is one place to do it.

rom Gisborne south there are lots of spots along the Mahia Peninsula and then into Napier Bay and down the southeast coast of the North Island. These spots need swell from the south and winds from the north to northwest which is not the typical NZ pattern, but if you catch this part of the world lit up, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to temperate heaven.

Christchurch is about halfway down the South Island, on the east coast. Renting a vehicle from there, you could do a Great Circle Route up the east coast, around the top of the South Island, come back along the West Coast and cut over the mountains back to Christchurch. Highway One will take you north along the East Coast to Kaikoura, and a few miles above that is one of the best waves in New Zealand, the right point at Mangamaunu. This place looks a lot like a classic Hollister Ranch setup – long lines and telephone poles - except that it breaks along the road and access is a hop, skip and a jump away.

The North Coast of the South Island starts at Clarence on the east coast, goes over the top and down the west coast to Westport. If you don’t find any surf and want to do the Lord of the Rings thing, several of the locations are here at Takaka Hill, Mount Own and Mount Olympus.

Queenstown is at the south end of the South Island. This area is renowned for its misty mountains, fjordland tour and world class skiing and snowboarding, but there is also a ton of surf down here, a lot of it too big, too cold and too remote to attract many takers. The west coast up to Greymouth and Punakaiki is hard to get to with only a couple of named spots in the north. But there are a few hearty lads exploring this coast with PWC, boats and helicopters. The southeast coast is a little more accessible, and there are a couple dozen spots from Timaru down to Dunedin, some of them with promising names: All Day Bay, Shag Beach, Pipeline, Murdering Bay and Secret Spot – a XXL-quality heavy wave a 40 minute paddle off the beach and out the back of a small island. Tow surfing only, they say.