Discovering Auckland, New Zealand
A city that never sleeps and point breaks that never end.
Where: Auckland is the capital of New Zealand, located near the top of the North Island and home to roughly 75 percent of the country's population.
What: The city itself is landlocked, but just a short drive in any direction will get you to some super-fun waves. Raglan is a quick couple of hours to the southeast, and once you're there, you'll be shredding endless lefts 'til your legs don't work anymore.
How: A direct flight from LAX takes less than fourteen hours, and if you fly on Quantas, you get free drinks, video games, and movies! Since New Zealand is an English-speaking nation with no major political problems, getting there is easy–call your travel agent. The U.S. dollar goes a long way in NZ–about three-quarter kiwi to one U.S. dollar.
The breaks: There're literally hundreds of amazing left-hand point breaks in New Zealand–the most famous being Raglan, located in the town of Raglan. If you want to make some of your own discoveries, drive northeast of Auckland and find the 90-mile beach. You can drive on the sand at low tide, and you'll see some of the most beautiful country in the world. Shipwrecks is up there, too, but you'll have to look for it. At Shipwrecks you can ride a left for over 300 yards! For the most part, the waves are long and fun with the occasional beefy beachbreak.
Living quarters: Accommodations range from five-star high-rise hotels to twenty-dollar-a-night campsites by the beach. We recommend taking the camper-van route (about 300 U.S. dollars a week) because there's a lot of driving to be done if you want to surf the best breaks.
Food: Whatever you want really, like fast food and supermarkets. Same stuff as we have in the U.S. except the beef is the best in the world.
Crowd factor: The locals are on it when the waves are good, so expect to see the same guys ripping Shipwrecks as were ripping Raglan. Plenty of empty waves can be found if you look.
Stuff to bring: Mostly boards for rippable waves and maybe a mid-range gun or two for bigger days. The weather can get cold in their winter (April through October) and never reaches much more than 65 degrees in their summer. Bring warm clothes and fullsuits.
If the surf is flat: New Zealand is the world's capital of extreme sports. I'm not talking about skateboarding or snowboarding–I'm talking about bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, Zorbing, jet boats, all that shit. There're a lot of sports you can do in Auckland that will make you shit your pants. Also, if you like to party, the bars and clubs in Auckland don't close!
Helpful Web sites:
surf.co.nz–this is their version of Surfline and will give you more than enough info to help plan your trip.
newzealand.com–the official tourism guide to New Zealand.
My opinion: I have the firm belief that New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the world. Perfect left points, amazing scenery, interesting culture and history, and one of the craziest party scenes ever. It gets my vote for the best place in the world.