I'm planning a trip for my wife and I to North Island NZ next year, probably low to shoulder season like August or September. I want to hire a slick camper van to tour around the coast. I have 2 main questions I hope someone can help me with:
1. Camper vans that will accommodate my 9' Starboard Hero. Can't seem to find one that's not a cheapy sardine can. Any tips or suggestions for bringing my own gear?
2. Where can I go that's SUP friendly?
Hope someone can help me out.
August is the best month for snow and rains a lot, probably not the best choice of time although crowds not such a problem.
September/October can be pretty good.
Can be cold (water temp 14c ish), we have a lot of westerly winds at that time of the year been the equinox, which means minimal swell on the east coast and potentially wind & swell on the west.
we have just gone 7 weeks of basically no swell on the east coast (north of Auckland)
But hoping it will change soon.
I hired a van in 2018 in March, which is also a bit of a shoulder season. I think the van was from Britz. It was bigger than the Hiace vans you see everywhere - it was a Renault I think. Not sure they are available every year, but was about $110 a day. It was pretty flash, and my 8'3 fitted along the side beside the bed pretty easily.
We headed north from Auckland and made our way up to the top to Cape Reinga. There are great spots all over the place with no people (like no-one for miles and miles) - so in that sense they are very SUP friendly! Shipwrecks is one of the most famous, but there are heaps of uncrowded beaches everywhere; some are so isolated they are a bit sketchy, particularly on the west coast when there is a solid groundswell running.
I usually don't like camping grounds, but the government grounds are really good - and I imagine would be pretty empty at the time of year you are looking.
Well if you come at that time it's best to be doing stand up because it's damn cold being in the water! The best gear tip I can give is bring a steamer! The west coast of NZ tends to be a pretty cold and desolate place over winter. East coast much more user-friendly but less waves where you tend to get more short period wind swell than good old nicely groomed ole groundys. I think most places are SUP friendly..... just not Raglan where I think they all just about hate on everyone!
What everyone else has said above.
shippies is worth a look when it's big, just stay wide as there's plenty of waves for everyone. This part of the country East and west coast are only half and hour apart so your bound to get waves somewhere, as always respect gets respect. The Cape is worth the drive, beautiful empty beaches around spirits bay though very sharky.
enjoy your trip though remember the roads can be challenging especially from Auckland to Whangarei with intense driving (others) so remember if there is a convoy behind you pull over when it's safe and allow others to pass, camper vans are notorious this time of the year everyone will be wanting to pass you.
Thanks for all the great advice. March is maybe looking better than August.
March has better swells for the East coast, and water temp is not too bad.
Avoid Raglan points and Maori Bay and the Island, you'll not get too much love there.
Try to find a wide open beachie and you'll get a peak to yourself. West coast Auckland on a less than 2m swell, head anywhere from Muriwai north and you'll score.
The proners here all pretty much sit on top of each other, so just observe where they go, and go the next peak up. Don't make it look like you are having too much fun or they will move in on your spot though!
@chris where are you based? Sound spot on from my feedback as well. I'd been supping Maori bay as a proner for years and then as a supper for 2 years hassle free, then all of a sudden it got so hate filled for sups! It's just one group of guys really but they ruin the sesh and vibe.
Speaking of... this week is looking good!
Hibiscus Coast so surf all of north Auckland and love a camping trip to wherever the swell is on
Yep, March is the best time anywhere on the north east coast, search and you will be rewarded. Early morning sessions are the best time to surf due to sea breeze afternoons. Board shorts and hot tops is all you will need, keep a springy handy though.
I would differ and say "deep winter" ....may/june/july on the east coast. If you young and fit a 2/3 wetsuit perfectly adequate.......winter southerly storms sending lots of swell......the locals too lazy to get out of bed early in the morning :)