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
Photo of Joe Coates
27 June 2018

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 | © Simeon W / Flickr

Taupo Bay

Taupo is another sandy beach break, located east of Kaitaia. This break is good for surfers of all abilities, but when the surf picks up you can get some waves that are both powerful and hollow, offering up some great barrels. There are several peaks down the beach to choose from with both right and left handers, but perhaps the best wave is found down the southern end of the beach and is a nice right-hander.

Learning to surf in Taupo Bay | © Bryce Edwards / Flickr

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 | © fidhermansdaughter / Flickr

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 | © Heike Quosdorf / Flickr

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