Karioitahi - Club Sites

Karioitahi - High Side
Important Notice:
As of 21st of January 2023, the landowner of Karioitahi High Side has decided that for future investment in the site, a membership and fee structure is required for all pilots wishing to fly from this site.

Please refer here.

All other take off sites remain free of charge.

Site Information

Karioitahi Beach is one of New Zealand's best coastal flying 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 three separate launch sites:

A. The "High Side", see Karioitahi - High Side
Membership of HighSide is required to fly from this site.

B. The "Club Launch" for hang gliders mid-point take-off is located on the cliff approximately 500 meters to the south of the restaurant and Surf Lifesaving club.  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.

C. The top take-off located at the top of the cliff. This site 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 and only accessible HG site. Please give HG pilots priority when using this site.
Take off area is very small with cliffs on three sides and trees behind so there is very little margin for error.

Drive very carefully and slowly through Castaways resort.

The lawn of the Castaways resort is no longer a viable take-off, and hence has been relegated to the Site Cemetery.

​Site Type



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.
No low flying/coming in for landing over horses.

Weather and Wind Direction

SSW to WNW. 

The AHGPC operates a weather station at Karioitahi (High Side), which is located just above the main launch area at the High Side. Live data from this station can be seen in the widget below or on the Holfuy website and Holfuy App.

A webcam mounted on the Karioitahi Surf Lifesaving Club building is also accessible here: http://www.kariaotahi.mobi/

Mandatory Notices

To fly the High Side, a subscription is required, with all funds going directly back in the developments of the site as a Flight Park.
Your support for the development of this site is greatly appreciated.

Site Radio Channel

If schools are operating, they are normally on Channels 10, 26 or 27

Other pilots site radio is Channel 20 - 476.900MHz


Hang Gliding

HG Novice 

HG Intermediate 

HG Intermediate + Cliff Launch (Site B)



PG2 + 30 hours for cliff launch (Site B)



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).
Note: the peak reading on the Weather station is actually the average, due to the specifics of the location of the station.


It is unwise to use the top take-off (site C) 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 B is PG2 plus 30 hours for PG and Intermediate & Cliff Launch for HG.


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 at two locations.
The first approximately 5 kilometres south at Maioro. Students do sometimes fly back to the car park. 
The second  is the High Side. A 200m section in front of take off is used for training.
At both sites, please respect students air space. Don't linger in front of take off areas, and allow a wide space when following or overtaking, and be especially courteous of the ridge rules. 


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

High Side: This site now operates on a member/fee based structure. All pilots wishing to fly from this site please comply with this.
All funds received will be invested in the site.

Membership & Fees for High Side - High Side website

Site B & C: This on Council Recreation Reserve, with a lease to to Castaway Resort on part of the reserve. The road from the restaurant to the top take-off past the holidays homes has been extended by the lessee, in conjunction with the Club, and is 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 the site monitor or club members directly, via WhatsApp group, or the AHGPC Facebook group for the combination.

Site Monitor

John Burton - 09 528 3362


The best wind direction to fly the 'Light House Run' (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 Karioitahi Beach access road and there is virtually 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.