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 two separate launch sites:

A. The "High Side", see Karioitahi - High Side

NB. Membership of HighSide is required to fly from this site.

B. The "Club Launch" is located approximately 350 metres south of the Surf Lifesaving Club within the Kariotahi Recreation Reserve. This site is most commonly accessed by driving through Castaways Resort (max speed 10 km/hr) and past the chalets until you come to a locked gate at the start of the unpaved vehicle track close to Chalet 18. The combination for the gate lock can be obtained by contacting the site monitor (see details below).

The track is suitable for 4WD vehicles only.  Please avoid gouging out the track through wheel-spinning.

Access to the Club Launch for PG pilots can also involve leaving your vehicle outside the Surf Lifesaving Club, walking along the beach, and then climbing the cliff.

Please note that this is the only accessible HG site at Kario and the primary HG coastal site for Auckland so please give HG pilots priority on launch. The takeoff area is very small, with cliffs on three sides and trees behind, so there is little margin for error for PG  launching.

Note: The lawn in front of the restaurant at 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 a lookout for beach traffic, particularly during 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)



It is unwise to take off from the Club Launch in a paraglider if the wind is southerly, as there is a high risk of being dragged off the cliffs on either side of launch. Also, be aware of being caught behind ridges when the wind is off to either the north or south (see below).

The site rating for the Club Launch is PG2 + 30 hours, or Intermediate & Cliff Launch for HG.


Only 4WD vehicles should be driven on the beach and caution should be taken to avoid getting bogged down and stuck in soft sand, especially in the intertidal zone. Drive carefully and don't speed, as many other people use the beach as well including fishermen, horse riders, and dirt bike riders. Under no circumstances should you drive over dune systems as this causes significant damage to these fragile environments.

If driving north along the beach be keenly aware of the tidal state, as the headlands that extend seawards from the cliffs will cut off your return 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. 

Terrain and wind direction

Beware of the venturi formed by the gap between the cliffs where Karioitahi Road comes down to the beach. PGs should avoid flying in the vicinity of the toilet block, as increased wind speeds in this area can result in a lack of forward penetration. Always stay out in front of the cliffs when crossing the gap to avoid this issue.

When the wind is crossed (SSW or WNW), be cautious of getting too low behind spines and other terrain features as rotor will be present.


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.