The Otago and Southland offer the most challenging and rewarding spots in the whole country. The swells here can become giants. The Rex Von Huben Memorial (Big Wave Competition) takes place right here in October attracting New Zealand’s best hardcore surfers to celebrate the life of the legendary Dunedin. Over the past few decades Dunedin’s surfers have gained esteem and Papatowai officially became the quintessential tow-in spot in New Zealand. Book your surf stay in New Zealand now!
North Otago spots don’t work very often because NE swells are quite rare, but when they do, points like Murderers show their potential for world-class waves. The latter represents an epic right that needs a NE swell producing a nice wave when it’s small, and a nice tube when the swell is big. Beware of rocks, sharks and the steep and slippery entrance ramp.
The right thrown in the mouth of the Karitane River works with swell from east; its outermost section, The Point, is a backwashing right that breaks next to some rocks. Surf Potato Point when the conditions are good, as it is well protected from strong southerly winds.
The consistency of Aramoana Spit can provide large NE swell tubes that break with all tides and even SW wind. The pier facilitates access to the more experienced when the waves are great. There are sharks and seals. Dunedin’s southern beaches are home to some of the best beachbreaks in the whole country. Flat days are rare as strong currents and heavy storms are the order of the day. A long walk up sandy hills is required to reach Sandfly Bay beach but, with small swells at low tide, the conditions are extremely enjoyable. There is also a penguin reserve, which is why surfing has been banned from nearby Boulder Beach. Not far away you can find Smails beach : this spot has to be surfed with small swells, it offers good lefts in the east corner characterized by strong currents. St-Clair is Dunedin’s surfing hub, blessed with some good quality peaks that break over sandy bottom. Another spot is Brighton , which works with swell from the south, receives long bars that curve around a rocky islet. It is an easy and rideable wave, with a slow take off… but the paddling to get tcould behere difficult. To ride some lefts drive to Long Point when there is a medium sized S swell. Land owners require permits and respect to enter this area.
Papatowai offers some of the biggest waves in New Zealand, where experienced surfers try to ride the long tubing right or fatal left. Less skilled surfers will likely have more fun at Porpoise Bay , a beach located at the rivermouth with steep and powerful peaks that are produced by large swells.
Stewart Island is still an undiscovered frontier and due to the lack of roads it is necessary to rent a boat from Half Moon Bay to reach the promising southeast coast. Mason bay is a very secluded beach on the west front. There are more bird watchers than surfers on the island. Riverton Rocks maintains long stakes in low tide conditions when quite massive swells arrive. Check out nearby Colac Bay and Nick’s Point if the former isn’t big enough. Porridge is a sinister pointbreak that produces large tubes on a rocky reef with S swells and NE winds. Permits are required to enter here. Check out Frentzes Reef, a left-handed reefbreak that works with big swells. Park near Monkey Island and check out the fun beachbreak in The Waewae Bay.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|Departure||March Apartments||Whistling Frog Cafe & Accommodation|
|From 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020||€ 410||€ 452|
This region is largely open to large Southern Ocean swells, which constantly oscillate from 3-10ft but it can produce even bigger waves. There is a choice of more than 40 breaks an hour’s drive from Dunedin, and you can check the forecast on the St Clair website. At this latitude, SW-SE swells are dominant while NE cyclonic swells are rare. The east coast usually stays off or side-shore unless high pressures bring winds from the E. Choose mid-seasons as summer may be calm while winter too cold and out of control. Semi-diurnal tides with 8ft maximum range.
How to get there: No visas for up to 30 days, Dunedid Airport is served by Air New Zealand and Qantas and has direct flights to Australia with Freedom Air and Origin Pacific. Flights to Auckland last 2.5h ($ 150). 5h drive from Christchurch, 2.5h to Invercargill. $ 20 boarding fee.
Getting Around: The Southern Scenic Route around Catlins in South Otogo provides access to the main spots. Agriculture is the largest industry in Otago and Southland; finding animals walking on the road is common, so drive safely and on the left. Portobello Rd is the main road to the famous Royal Albatross Colony at the entrance to Otogo Harbor. Escape Campervans (office in Christchurch) is perfect for surfers.
Accommodation and food: La Villa Rustica near Carey’s Bay is a good place for surfers with Dr Surf’s Longboard Clinic and Otogo Surf Tour. YHA is located in the student town of Dunedin and thanks to that you can find dorms for $ 12. There are also plenty of backpackers for $ 10-30 per day. You will pay $ 12-25 for a meal. Good wine.
Climate: Dunedin has a temperate climate with a large number of microclimates and weather conditions often change due to its proximity to the ocean. Spring can be characterized by “4 seasons in one day” but from November to April the climate is mild and stable with temperatures from 3-12 ° C in winter and from 7-19 ° C in summer.
Nature and Culture: The rainy season lasts from June to September, the 24 ski areas and 12 heli-ski operators offer one of the alpine experiences that you couldn’t find in other places in the world. the Famous Queenstown (Coronet Peak, Remarkable) or Wanaka (Treble Cone, Wardron) are about 4.5h. Don’t miss Mt. Hutt in Canterbury. Try rock fishing and diving.
Dangers and Nuisances: A shark net was placed on St-Clair beach with a “shark-bell” in the Esplanade, but the last attack was in 1971. The surfers in Otogo were chased away from water from a large population of sea lions. Weather can be harsh and can change quickly. Going through private property is a privilege, not a right and owners must be respected.
Tips: Bring a gun and winter equipment including a 5/4 wetsuit if traveling after April. Surfing equipment abounds in Dunedin. Esplanade Surf School operates in St. Clair.
Exchange rate 1 EUR = 1.08 USD; 1 € = 1.51 NZD; 1 EUR = 1.41 AUD
Exchange rate variations (more than 3%) will lead to an adjustment of costs. They will be communicated within 20 days of departure.
The tariff does not include
Duration: 8 days / 6 nights
from € 242 - Excluding flights
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