Aotearoa has no shortage of incredible surfing spots across our islands, but if you don’t fancy trekking from Auckland out to places like Piha and Muriwai, it can feel like a bit of a slog to catch some breakers. Handily, that might all be about to change if plans for Auckland Surf Park come to fruition, with a 2.2 hectare surfing lagoon planned for a site in Dairy Flat, just north of the city. The community-focused surf park has recently reached the final consenting stage, bringing it one step closer to becoming the first surf park in NZ. Here’s what you need to know!
Surf parks are becoming increasingly popular around the world, with examples found as far apart as Bristol in the UK and Seoul in South Korea. Across the Tasman, Melbourne already has one in the form of Urbnsurf, with further Aussie parks planned for Sydney, the Gold Coast, and Perth – in fact, the team behind the Perth park are the same team that’s committed to delivering Auckland’s version, albeit that one is slightly further ahead of NZ’s park, with planning permission already secured.
Auckland Surf Park is being developed by Aventuur, who have already secured a site amongst the rolling green fields of Dairy Flat for the park. The aim is for the park to blend into the local area, with a big focus on sustainability; for instance, the surf lagoon will be heated by the excess heat generated from the on-site data centre, which would be a world first and also keep the water temperature up during the winter months. The complex would also contain a seven hectare solar farm to provide renewable energy for the site.
You’ll also be able to find eco-cabins and lodging, a farm-to-table restaurant that’ll no doubt make use of the region’s abundant produce, and sports facilities on site. But undoubtedly, the key to the site will be the surfing lagoon; using the technology of Spanish surf company Wavegarden, they’ll be able to generate anywhere from 600 to 1000 waves per hour, mimicking those found in the oceans around New Zealand. Surfers of all abilities will be invited to experience the challenge of catching a wave, with different sessions and surf conditions tailored towards beginners and veterans alike. The project is progressing in partnership with former All Black, mental health advocate, and avid surfer, Sir John Kirwan, who’s likely to be spotted on the waves once the surf park has opened.
There’s no concrete word yet on the potential opening date for Auckland Surf Park, but judging by the timeline for its sister site in Perth – which received planning permission in March 2023, is expected to start construction before the end of 2023, and aims to open in late 2025 – we’re probably looking at a date no sooner than late 2026. Once open, it could serve Kiwi surfers of all ages, from early starters to Olympic hopefuls, and make for one excellent day trip from Auckland. We’ll keep you updated with any developments on the project as they happen.