What can I say about sandboarding? I would have said I am too old, but then I learned about the 89-year-old who gave it a try (and loved it). It’s an adrenaline junky activity at the top of the North Island of New Zealand. My girls and their friend had a blast riding down. Hubby and I took the conservative approach, enjoying an interesting mix of the sand and the vegetation as we walked up to the best spot for photos.
We drove here as part of a loop around the top of the North Island. However, the most popular way to see the top of the island is on a day trip to Cape Reinga that includes driving along the beach and, of course, a sandboarding adventure.
→ Check for best prices on day tours from Bay of Islands to Cape Reinga (top of the North Island).
The Giant Te Puki Sand Dunes reach up 100 metres, with the longest run nicknamed “Devil’s Hook” offering a 350 long metre “surf” down. I don’t know the speeds reached, but it’s estimated that some of the slopes exceed 45°. It was faster than the sand skiing we did in Morocco.
Safety is the responsibility of the rider. The basic guidelines are to find a smooth slope with a gentle curve at the base, and good run off with no rocks, plants, or people in the way.
Practical Information about sandboarding on the Te Paki Sand Dunes New Zealand:
- Te Paki Giant Sand Dunes NZ is located on the Aupouri Peninsula, near the very top of the North Island, about 17 km from Cape Reinga.
- Entering these New Zealand sand dunes is free.
- The general advice is to be sure to lock your car here.
- Sandboarding needs smooth, sleek boards, and the average beach boogie board just won’t get the speed you want, nor will it hold up to the coarse sand. You need one like this:
- Follow the road to the dunes, and you can hire a sandboard for $15 from Ahikaa Adventures. He even has toboggans for little ones. (Minimum age is up to the parents). There are other spots along the main road that have signs offering boards, but we didn’t stop at any of them.
- There is no time limit, but most people only last about an hour as the walk up is quite tiring.
- Sandboarding is generally done barefoot, which works out well, as you need to cross an ankle-deep stream to get to the dunes.
- Board hire is available in the summer from 9.30am until at least 6 pm and in winter from 10.30am until at least 4 pm. He stays later if people keep showing up.
- There are limited accommodation options in the area. We recommend booking.com to find the best prices.
- We always carry a copy of Lonely Planet’s New Zealand Travel Guide when we tour the country.
→ Check for best prices on day tours from Bay of Islands that includes these sand dunes.
Are you ready for some sandboarding? Have you been to the top of the North Island?
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