Karioitahi Beach

Site Information

Karioitahi Beach is one of New Zealand's best coastal sites. The total length of soarable ridge from the Waikato River in the South to the Manukau Heads in the north is 35 kilometres.

This site is located on the West Coast, approximately one hour's drive from downtown Auckland. Take the Southern Motorway and turn off at Drury, following the signs to Waiuku and then to Karioitahi where the road terminates at the beach.

Launch Sites

There are five separate launch sites:

A. The "High Site" also known as "The Main Cliff", 300 m north of the access road. This is used by Paragliders when wind is too light for the other launch sites as well as being the main Paragliding site.

B. The dunes at the end of the car park by the lifesavers building at the termination of the road. This is only used in strong wind by a few keen pilots and is rarely used.

C. The lawn of the restaurant which is located on the cliff just above the Surf Life Saving lifesaving club, and accessed by a road turning left just before reaching the beach. This is sometimes used by PG pilots but is also used by the restaurant for functions so you should check.

D. The "Club Launch" for hang gliders mid-point take-off is located on the cliff approximately 500 metres to the south of the restaurant and Surf Lifesaving club. This is no longer used for PG training since the move to Maioro. Drive up the sealed road, past the chalets, until you see the gate to the south of chalet 18 at the bottom of the track. The track is suitable for 4WD vehicles only. Please avoid gouging out the track through wheel-spinning.

E. The top take-off located at the top of the cliff. This sites is accessed by either leaving the vehicle outside the Surf Lifesaving Club and walking along the beach and then climbing the cliff (PG), or alternatively taking the private road from beyond the restaurant (PG & HG). This is the main Kariotahi HG launch site.

​Site Type

Coastal

Landing

Landing is on the beach but keep look out for beach traffic, particularly through summer and when the tide is high.

There is a "no landing zone" that extends roughly 50 m north and south of the grassy de-rigging area in front of the bottom car park.

Please do your best to avoid landing close to the grassy de-rigging area when there are lots of other beach users about.

Keep an eye out for vehicles and people on motorbikes before setting up for a landing.

Weather and Wind Direction

SSW to WNW.

Live weather data and a webcam mounted on the Surf Lifesaving Club is accessible here: http://www.kariaotahi.mobi/

The club operates a weather station at Karioitahi. The wind speed at launch is likely to be ~5km/hr higher than indicated due to the inland location of the weather station.

Please note that the Holfuy station suggest that south is the limit for soaring; in fact, the limit is South South West (SSW). We only have the options of SW or S with the software.)

Similarly, the northerly wind direction limit is actually West North West (WNW).


Mandatory Notices

None.

Site Radio Channel

If schools are operating, they are normally on Channels 10 and 26.

Restrictions

Hang Gliding

HG Novice

HG Intermediate

HG Intermediate + Cliff Launch (Site C)

Paragliding

​PG2

PG2 + 30 hours for cliff launch (Site C)

Cautions

Wind

Please note that the Holfuy station suggest that south is the limit for soaring; in fact, the limit is South South West (SSW). We only have the options of SW or S with the software.)

Similarly, the northerly wind direction limit is actually West North West (WNW).

Please note that the wind speed at launch is likely to be ~5km/hr higher than indicated due to the inland location of the weather station.

Takeoff

It is unwise to use the top take-off (site E) in a southerly (wind very cross anyway) as there is no escape if your launch is not perfect or you are in risk of being dragged side ways. Be aware of being caught behind ridges when the wind is off to either the South of the North.

Rating for site C is PG2 plus 30 hours for PG and Intermediate & Cliff Launch for HG.

Driving

Caution should be taken driving vehicles on the beach other than over the low tide period or well above high tide mark. The mid-tide area can be treacherous terrain, and vehicles can easily get stuck. You should use 4-wheel drive vehicles only to drive down the beach. You should also be careful driving north at low tide as areas of the beach are cut off at high tide.

Flight Training

Flight training takes place approximately 5 kilometres south at Maioro but students do sometimes fly back to the car park. Students under instruction should be flying with red or orange streamers attached to the harness.

Airspace

These sites are located within the outer area of CTA/C with a height restriction of 2,500 foot A.S.L, reducing to 1,500 foot approximately 8km north of Kariotahi, and over the township of Waiuku behind and to the east of Kariotahi

Access Conditions

The site lessee is the operator of Castaway's Restaurant. The road from the restaurant to the top take-off past the holidays homes has been extended by Gavin, in conjunction with the Club, and is a restricted access.

There is a 10 km per hour speed restriction when passing through the chalet area.

If you have a 2WD vehicle, please do not leave it parked next to the chalets at the top of the sealed road. Please park it in one of the non-chalet car parks.

As at April 2019 there is a combination lock on the access road. Please contact club members or the AHGPC Facebook group for the combination.

Site Monitor

John Burton - 09 5283362

Notes

The best wind direction to make the trip to Manukau Heads is West South-West. The gaps are relatively easy to cross but be aware that there are limited landing options north of the Kariotahi Beach access road and next to no vehicle access, especially at high tide.

Maioro Club site sign

Site Achievements

Hang glider pilot Anton Lawrence has flown from Kariotahi, crossing the Manukau entrance and landing at Whatipu.

Hang glider pilot Carl Dreissen has flown over the back of Kariotahi and landed in Pukekohe.

Paraglider pilots Peter Creighton and Jeff Ripley have flown over the back of Kariotahi and landed at Waiuku.