The 5 Best Surf Spots in The Bay of Islands

There are some hidden gems up here
There are some hidden gems up here | © itravelNZ® - New Zealand in your pocket™ / Flickr
Joe Coates

The Bay of Islands is in a part of New Zealand that is sometimes known as the “winterless north”. This might be stretching the truth some days, but there can be no denying that up here the weather is a lot more clement than further south. So, if you fancy a surf in more hospitable climes then read our guide to find out the five best spots in the Bay of Islands.

Tokerau Beach

The east coast of Northland and the Bay of Islands region is a great place to learn how to surf because a lot of the breaks are quite forgiving, and not too gnarly. Like most surf spots in this area, Tokerau Beach is a sandy beach break, located just south of Karikari Peninsula on the east coast of Northland. There are several peaks down the beach to choose from with both right and left handers, making this a nice versatile wave that can be really enjoyable no matter your skill level. The wave can be punchy at times, so don’t think you’re going to be bored if you’re a skilled surfer.

Sandy Tokerau Bay

Taupo Bay

Learning to surf in Taupo Bay

Wainui Bay

Here is another surf spot that offers up right and left handers, making it another lovely place for all surfers. It is a popular beach, this one, so make sure you keep your eyes skinned for swimmers and bathers. This wave breaks onto sand, and can be pretty punchy at times and a lot of fun. Wainui is less than two hours from Whangarei, which means it’s a good option if you fancy staying in a city with a bit of nightlife and some great restaurants.

Dead calm in Wainui Bay. Not ideal for surfing

Takou Bay

Takou Bay is a beach break and river bar break on a sandy beach, located north of Kerikeri on the east coast of Northland. If you happen to be surfing in the river mouth just make sure that you are aware that river mouths are far more likely to develop rips and you’ll get tired more quickly. The wave here can really pack a bit of a wallop and is a lot of fun and, once again, this surf spot supplies both left-handers and right-handers. It is also a popular spot with the swimmers, so try your hardest not to run anyone over.


Now, the one thing about Taipa is that it’s anything but consistent. There needs to be a real monster swell happening for the waves to make it into the bay but, when they do, the waves are gorgeous and soft and fat. This provides perfect conditions for those learning to surf, or for mal riders. If you’re looking to shred it up quite aggressively then this break probably isn’t for you. There are both lefties and righties on offer and make sure you stay aware of any rips that might form whilst you’re out paddling.

Hard day at the office
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article