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*Wellington South

(Windy) Wellington, the windiest place in NZ, comprises a large natural harbour opening out south into Cook Straight, which acts as a large wind tunnel for the southerly winds straight off the Antarctic. The prevailing wind is northwesterly and there are a number of locations around the inner harbour to sail from, as well as Lyall Bay on the south coast and Plimmerton on the West. Local shop is Wild Winds at Chaffers Marina in the city. Winds in the +30knots are not uncommon and southerlies are BIG days. Quivers in Wellington generally range from 6.5m down to 3.0m, long boards are not too common. Local windsurfing club is the Wellington Windsurfing Association. Wind information can be obtained on WINDLINE, a local wind reporting system. For accommodation there are numerous hostels in the city and a camp in Lower Hutt. Other activities in the region include mountain biking, hang gliding, canoeing, sailing,walking/ hiking/ tramping, rock climbing, museums, wineries, the biannual International Festival of the Arts. The central city is situated in a large harbour. Take the ferry to the other side and you will land in Eastbourne, a quiet holiday town with a few shops and beautiful beaches, or sail over on a long- board, and explore the island in the middle of the harbour. Take care of the ferries, and the weather, it can get very rough and windy.

Dial-a-forecast: 0900 999 11 / 0900 499 08
Info Centre: Civic Centre. Cnr Wakefield & Victoria Sts. Ph 04 801 4000
Local Shops: Wild Winds at Chaffers Marina
Hire Schools: Available at the above shop.


Access: Launch from Shelly Bay on the Miramar side, or the head of Evans Bay in a NW, or Kio Bay in strong N or S winds.
Suits: Slalom, longboarding. Beginners....
Wind: N and S brings strong winds.
Water: N = swell. S = flat.
Watch: Coarse angular stones on beach. Shoes recommended. Busy yachting area, also some boats tow fishing lines!
In Detail: Evans Bay acts as a north/south wind tunnel and is sailable in either direction, appears to be THE place to go near the city if there's any wind to be had and Lyall Bay or Plimmerton are not worth the effort. Not recommended for beginners as beaches are small and rocky, and wind turbulent near the shore. Good chop when wind gets up. Launching all round bay, although Kio Bay on city side and Shark Bay (no sharks!) on the opposite side are preferred. Rigging and parking limited, but that doesn't stop multitudes from sailing at some locations.


Access: 8 minutes drive south of the city. Launching only from the western end in rough conditions.
Suits: Wavesailing. Experienced...
Wind: SW = cross onshore. SE = onshore - difficult to get off beach
Water: The Antarctic swell can reach up to 3 metres.
Watch: The shore break packs a mean punch. The wind strength is deceptively less from the footpath. Take out a sail big enough to keep in front of the white water.
In Detail:South of Evans Bay next to the airport, this is the "the" wavesailing spot in Wellington, but only in southerlies. Launch at the western end near the (old) Southcoast shop. Lyall Bay has a reputation for wrecking gear, also has surfers to contend with so I recommend it only for experienced wavesailers.


Access: 8 minutes drive from Wellington City. Grass rigging area and a kiosk for refreshments.
Suits: Slalom, longboard. Beginners...
Wind: Southerly directions are best. N = offshore.
Water: Flat - harbour swell good for jumping
Watch: Offshore northerly winds - if your gear breaks, it's a long drift to Eastbourne.
In Detail: Travel out from Wellington towards the Hutt Valley, turn off at Petone and go along the foreshore to the far end. Parking just before the road leaves the shore and rigging in the adjacent picnic area, or better still veer away from the beach past the Mobil Service Station then take the first right, go across the park and rig just behind the sand dunes. Sandy beach drops away slowly, watch out for sand bars at low tide. Petone is best during a southerly (onshore), in light winds is good for beginners and slalom, as wind gets stronger then wave boards for chop hopping etc are the order of the day. Waves up to 1-2 metres but strong winds make aerial maneuvers interesting. Good for Wellingtons extreme wind days as there is plenty of sheltered rigging on grass. Playgrounds, funparks and shops make it good for family forays too.


Access: 10 minutes drive around the harbour towards Eastbourne. Small enclosed artificial beach west of marina.
Suits: Intermediate and up, slalom/longboard plus wave in strong southerlies.
Wind: Anything from S through W to NW
Water: The southerly swell builds at river mouth, standing waves.
Watch: Sometimes river is polluted after heavy rain, also logs etc.
In Detail: This is a new development but has potential. Continue past Petone towards Eastbourne across the Hutt River, turn right at the roundabout and follow road around to the Marina. A small sheltered beach has been formed at the mouth of the river facing west, and if the development plans are put in place then grassed areas and parking will be plentiful. Beach provides sheltered launching into southerly and northerly, and southerly swell meeting river (often in flood) creates an interesting wave effect. Potentially an ideal race/event location because of the north/south sailing.


Access: Around the harbour from the city, about 20 mins drive
Suits: Intermediate to advanced, slalom and longboard. Beginners on quiet days
Wind: NW is best, N and S sailable but a bit difficult off the beach
Water: Harbour chop
Watch: Ferries, other boats.
In Detail: Keep going around to Eastbourne, DON'T stop at Days Bay unless you want to show off/ look stupid/ get frustrated or hire a catamaran.( there are boards for hire here sometimes too). After Days Bay there are innumerable locations to sail, starting at Windy Point and heading south past the yacht club, wharf and down to the rugby club. Heaps of grassed areas, usually sheltered. Best sailed in a northwesterly (prevailing wind) but usable in anything from northerly to southerly that doesn't have an easterly component. In light winds is slalom territory, chop hopping etc as it gets stronger, bigger waves in 40+ Knots. Lots of local facilities for other recreation, playgrounds, walks, shops, tennis courts, coastal walk/bike ride. Eastbourne is a good launch spot for harbour blast/cruise to Ward Island, Seatoun, Oriental Bay/ Evans Bay or up the harbour towards Petone. You may have to swim in/out of some places (i.e. Days Bay). Watch out for ferries if crossing the shipping lanes! I sail here most of the time because its convenient but also reliable - if theres wind then Eastbourne is probably OK.


Access: From the city go around past the airport and through the Seatoun Tunnel.
Suits: Intermediate, slalom and longboard
Wind: N, NE at Seatoun Beach, S, SE at Scorching Bay (north)
Water: Fairly flat, chop in stronger winds.
Watch: Ferries , also be aware that Cook Strait is just around the corner if you break gear!
In Detail: As you come out of the Seatoun Tunnel head north towards the beach, go right at the beach if it's a northerly, keep heading around the coast in a southerly. Sail across towards Eastbourne, but watch for ferries and note that as you clear the headland you're in line with Cook Strait, if you get into trouble swim or you'll drift out. Scorching Bay is a swimming beach so be careful, and watch for ferries coming around the corner (up 40 knots and BIG!). Probably best place in a NE (apart from Evans Bay). Many windsurfers have bought houses there.

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