With the weekend quickly approaching, we’re crossing our fingers for sweet swells and dreamy offshore winds—the perfect excuse to make a beeline for the beach, surf board tucked firmly under our arm. One thing’s for certain: we’re beyond blessed to live in a city boasting epic surf beaches—both on the east and west coast.
We took MINI’s brand-spankin’ new Countryman (aka the biggest and most adventurous MINI yet), and set out on a road trip in search of the best surf spots in Auckland. Keen to get away from the masses (Piha, we’re looking at you), we opted for the road less travelled and stumbled upon six secret surf spots. Just don’t tell anyone, okay?
Located a hop, step and a jump from Muriwai and the much-loved gannet colony is Maori Bay. Here the exposed beach break forms powerful, hollow waves that the West Coast is known and loved for. Make sure you’ve got your wits about you before heading out—the surf is best for intermediate to pro surfers. Make a day of it and stick around for a spectacular sunset over the ocean—best enjoyed with fish and chips on the beach!
Whether it’s your first time on the board or you’re a Kelly Slater in the making, Forestry is the place to be. On the southern side of Te Arai Point, this is East Coast surf at its finest. The beach break forms peaks for left and right-handers alike, with the northern end offering lefties the best break on the beach. You’ll have to follow a lengthy gravel road to get to this spot but we promise it’s worth it!
Te Arai Point
If you find yourself shredding waves at Forestry, you might as well see what Te Arai Point has to offer. The northern side of the point offers epic right-handers with the rest of the beach catering to all. This spot is also perfect for newbies—ten bucks you’ll catch your first wave here! Pro tip: set up camp at the spectacular Mangawhai and surf the weekend away at both Te Arai Point and Forestry.
Load up your ride and jump on the car ferry to Great Barrier Island. On the island’s East Coast, you’ll find Whangapoua river mouth and—you guessed it—a whooole lot of surf! You’ll find decent waves at both the bar of the river mouth and along the sandy beach. The punchy, hollow waves are known for forming some sizeable barrels. Make it a weekend of adventure with walks, diving and hot pools to be discovered. Hellooo, island getaway!
While this spot is less secret than others, it’s still worthy of a mention for its punchy waves. Anchor Bay is loved for its short yet fun-filled surf—perfect for beginners. Keep an eye on the surf report because this is the spot to be when the East Coast swell is churning. Come for the surf, stay for the other countless activities. Tawharanui has it all: camping, diving, fishing, mountain biking, walks, and bird watching!
If you like to have your surf all to yourself, put Port Waikato on your to-surf list. The left-hand point break is hella powerful with a steep drop-in followed by nice, looong rides. This spot is suited to expert surfers only—it’s prone to dangerous rips and the waves are rather mighty. Surf aside, Port Waikato is worthy of a visit. You can fish off the rocks, explore the nearby Nikau Caves and marvel at where the Waikato River meets the sea.
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Image credit: Kellie Blizard