The 5 Best Surf Spots in the Coromandel Peninsula

Nothing like a dawn surf
Nothing like a dawn surf | © brewbooks / Flickr
Photo of Joe Coates
26 June 2018

The Coromandel Peninsula is another jewel in New Zealand’s crown. It’s a place of beautiful beaches, exquisite food, gorgeous weather and lovely people, and it has some killer surf breaks, too. Here is our guide to ripping it up on five of our fave surf spots in the area.

Te Karo Bay

The first thing that you have to take into consideration about all the breaks on our list is this; the Coromandel is one of the most popular areas in all of New Zealand when it comes to holidaymakers and tourists. Te Karo Bay is a beach break on a sandy beach, located on the east side of the Coromandel Peninsula just north of Tairua – and also goes by the ominous name of Sailors Grave. This break is one of the best in the region for the skilled surfer to ride, although it might be a bit of a challenge for people just starting out. There are several peaks to choose from along the beach with both right and left-handers, making it a versatile spot for those who might favour one side. Newbies will probably want to skip this when the surf is really pumping as the wave can be very powerful.

Te Karo Bay | © Tam Hardley / Flickr

Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach is one of the most picturesque beaches in the whole of New Zealand, so it should come as no surprise that it’s also one of the busiest. A beach break onto golden sand makes this spot a real pleasure when it’s cranking, so don’t let the crowds put you off. It’s fairly long with various peaks and is known to suck up for some hollow barrels. At the north end of the beach, there can be a left-hand point break, and at the south end, a right-hand break with an outer reef. The middle of the beach has natural hot springs in front of the rocks, where you will see people digging their own hot pools at low tide – this makes it the perfect place to relax any tired muscles by digging your own jacuzzi!

Waiting for the surf at Hot Water Beach | © daspunkt / Flickr


The wave here is powerful and hollow – good fun with some barrels on offer – but it can become a heavy shore break, so keep your wits about you while out here. It’s located on the east side of the Coromandel Peninsula, just north of Pauanui and is (surprise, surprise) popular with swimmers and other beach-goers. It’s another one of the Coromandel Peninsula’s corking sandy beaches, making coming out of the surf none of the chore that it can be when the beach is rock or boulder. On smaller days it should be fine for all but the freshest grommets, but when the surf is up you really want to know your stuff.

It's a good sign | © Jennifer Whiting / Flickr

Whangamata Beach

You may have heard of Whangamata, even if you’re a surfie from all the way on the other side of the world. The reason is because this break is easily one of the best in the whole country. It’s a good beach break with several peaks, producing both left and right-handers. The wave can get hollow, with a fast drop in – perfect for those wanting to spend time in the green room – and can become a heavy shorey.

Whangamata, New Zealand | © kiwinz / Flickr

Kuaotunu Beach

Kuaotunu Beach is a fairly sheltered bay and needs a decent swell to get it working. The wave is fast and hollow, with barrels on offer. As with the other breaks on our list, Kuaotunu Beach is extremely popular in the summertime, so if you’re going to be hitting the surf remember to respect the locals. Kuaotunu Beach is a right-hand point break off a rocky point onto a sandy beach, located at the eastern end of the beach, on the north-eastern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula. It’s a hell of a spot whether the surf is ripping or not.

Sunset surf | © Rosino / Flickr

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