Wairarapa Spots

Cape Palliser Coast

Cape Palliser Spotmap

Over the Rimutaka Hill road (SH2) from Wellington is the Wairarapa. The south coast has been a much loved surfing spot for years, but has not been sailed all that much. Its pretty rugged and isolated which adds to its charm.  From Featherston head towards Martinborough and turn to Lake Ferry and the south coast. Turn at Pirinoa onto the Cape Paillier Coast road which will take you one by one past each of the breaks and to the small fishing village of Ngawi. For Tora however, you should continue into Martinborough and then onto White Rock Road following the signs to Tora.

Lake Ferry (Lake Onoke)

Speed sailing and Freeriding at Lake Ferry
Winds, N, NW, S, SE, SW
Level: Beginner to Expert

Lake Ferry outlets into Palliser Bay on the South Wairarapa Coast and is a great freeride spot. If you are into freestyle or just blasting on flat water, Lake Ferry is good fun, plus the sand spit at the southern end creates quite a good speed strip in a strong southerly. Its not very deep (but not safe for swimming). Lake Ferry is also often used as a base for Wairarapa coast wave missions, since it has accommodation options like the Lake Ferry Holiday Park, and a great pub in the Lake Ferry Hotel. The WWA holds a weekend fun event here once per year usually in April.
To get there, after the Rimutaka Hill road in Featherston, turn right towards Martinborough. Follow this road for 5 mins and then turn right at the sign to Lake Ferry.

Whatarangi Point

Troy tabletop Whatarangi pic by C SulzberegerWinds: N, S to SE
Level: Intermediate to advanced

Whatarangi is the first small village you reach following the coast road from Pirinoa and Lake Ferry. There is a little track 50m long, where you park and launch. Its a Point break lefthander, better at lowish tide. The wave sometimes runs a long way through to the Bombora further out. Wave can be 200m long in good conditions. In moderate days very suitable for beginner to intermediate wavesailors. Can also be sailed in a northerly, but there needs to be a good southswell coming in, else it will be blown flat.  Waveface is quite smooth in southerlies, but choppy in northerlies . There's a couple of rocks below water at launching point, but not too hardcore.


Check out 2008 Dumps trip at sessionlogs.com. Photos by Chris BrownWinds: N, S, best in SE
Level: Advanced to expert

Keep on going past Whatarangi for about 2-3 km until the road makes a significant bend to the left. Dumps is a barren point that picks up the biggest swell on the Palliser coast. The rest of the coast might be completely flat, but there is still a chance of a logo high wave running here. The point is crossshore in a S or SE. There is a channel to the left of the major rocks in the middle of the bay. The break is upwind about 100 meters. When it is on the wave is a very smooth, clean wave. In a big swell, High Tide is best, in a small swell, lowish tide seems to work better. There is a 4 WD track which takes you down to the point, 2WD need to beware of deep sand.

Don't ride the waves to the very end on the inside. as they close out into a rockgarden.

Dee Dees

Dee dees back in the dayWinds: N
Level: Intermediate to expert.

If the wind is too easterly, and doesn't get around to Dumps or Whatarangi Point, head further down the road towards Ngawi village, until you cross a very small bridge. Just after the bridge, take a right down to the beach. This is Deedees. There will be a couple of big rocks, to the left there is a narrow channel heading out. Once you're out on the water, you'll need to go downwind about 200 meters. Once again, port tack wavesailing. Only works in very big swells.

Ning Nong

Woo and Clayon sail Ning NongsWinds: N to NNW
Level: intermediate to expert

Awesome left and right split peak break popular with surfers. Both the right and the left are perfect for wavesailing, breaking fast and large along a boulder bottom only about 10-15 metres from the beach. The trick with getting this spot on is timing. The break is best with a solid south swell and a Southerly or recently switched increasing Northerly wind , so it doesn't get too chopped up. Nice chunky wave with lots of aerial opportunities. Definitely worth doing the home work to score when its on.


Lawerence on a chunky one Tora 2004Level: Intermediate to expert.

Probably the most consistent and full on wave sailing spot in the Wairarapa. This right hand breaking reef break is pretty much guaranteed to be working in a good southwester, which is cross to cross-offshore . Picks up any kind of swell, but an E to SE swell seems to wrap in best.

The break has two parts: the outer reef and the inner reef. The reefs break seperately on small swells and connect on large swells. Waves breaking on the outer reef get massive and the sailable wave easily gets over mast high and can handle much bigger. The bigger the swell, the further out the waves break and the better it gets. It is possible when the two reefs connect to get over 500 metre long rides. In small swells waves will break closer to the beach where you will find occasional rocks popping out whilst going down the line.

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