New Zealand is made up of two main islands, the North Island and South Island. The main source of swell for both is from the low pressure systems in the Southern Ocean, but New Zealand picks up swell from just about anywhere. Waves can be generated from the south, the west from the Tasman Sea, north from cyclone systems and east from depressions. Tie that up with the fact that there are a large number of surf spots, relatively few surfers and quality waves it remains one of the more underrated surf destinations on the planet.  

Quick Facts

Mix of beachbreaks, points and reefs on both the North and South Islands

North Island is warmer and the best for surf, with Raglan Bay known worldwide

Summer can be warm, but most surfs will involve a few millimetres of rubber 

Relatively uncrowded  

When to go

You can surf in New Zealand year-round. The summer months from December through March bring the warmest conditions; air and water temperatures decrease from north to south. The South Island in winter is bitter and endured mostly by truly hard core Kiwis. Between September and April is the best bet, with Southern Ocean low pressure systems and Coral Sea cyclones both providing swell sources.


Famed as the set of Lord of the Rings, New Zealand has so much more to offer than just surfing and hobbit spotting. Milford Sound in the South Island is a fjord that is atmospheric at any time of day with dolphin and whale watching boats operating in the area. It is also advised to visit Queenstown as its bungee jumping, river tours and skydiving have made make the South Island city the ‘adventure capital of the world’. For those who have access to their own transport, the roads around the country lead to treasures around every corner, make sure to sample some of the premier wines from the regions of Hawke’s bay and Marlborough. Yet perhaps the most enriching experience to have in New Zealand is to immerse yourself into the Maori culture and to interact in their way of life, whether playing a game of rugby or participating in indigenous ceremonies.

The Country

New Zealand is located 1500km from Australia and is divided into two differing islands, the North and South. The climate of the North Island is a make-up of warm tropical weather, whereas the South Island has a cooler climate with many fjords and glaciers. New Zealand has some of the world’s most stunning landscapes due to its violent geologic make-up and is the setting for many books and films.The Maori tribes are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand, however due to the country’s settlement by European colonies throughout the years there is a distinct European feel and culture.  

Getting There

Traveling to New Zealand is a long journey for those travelling from the USA and Europe, however the journey itself is simple. There are seven main airports that operate to international airports around the world. Most international visitors arrive into the major hub of Auckland Airport (AKL), or Christchurch Airport (CHC) if accessing the South. However, flights from Australia or the Pacific Islands arrive at New Zealand’s smaller international airports. Once you have arrived in New Zealand it is easy to organise transport around the two islands with fantastic public transport. 

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