Te Maire (Ripiro Beach)

Site Information

Te Maire can be a little more tricky and interesting than most coastal sites.

The ridge is 80 km long, terrain varies significantly in parts, and conditions can change over its length.

The majority of the ridge is similar to Kariotahi although typically it is a little lower, but the 10+ km at each end are very different to Kariotahi and will challenge advanced pilots.

This site requires a South West wind of a similar strength to that required for Kariotahi.

For the purposes of this site guide a takeoff at Te Maire Beach Rd, 4 km south of Glinks Gully, is assumed.

This takeoff is a 200 km, 2½ hour drive north of the Harbour Bridge and 25 km south of Dargaville.

As distances from takeoff can be significant, retrieval options are also explored below, however landing out is not that common if you keep and an eye on the conditions and don’t push your luck.

​Site Type

Coastal.

Take Off

Hang Glider

The safest takeoff with direct public road access is Te Maire Rd. It requires a 4WD to access the takeoff, while a 2WD can make it within 400 m of takeoff. It is a rounded 120 ft high takeoff suitable for novice pilots and is suitable for an experienced pilot to self-launch in a firm wind.

The rigging area is next to the road and is a flat grazed grassy area.

Paraglider

Launching is possible at regular intervals along the ridge but degree of difficulty increases the further you fly to the south of Glinks

South of Te Maire

Wind

Typically the wind speed increases by a few knots at or south of the Te Maire takeoff.

Wind on takeoff on any given SW day is typically 5+ knots less than at Kariotahe. Mo re than most coastal sites it is important to keep an eye on wind lines to spot any wind strength/direction change and also for any signs of showers as you get further from takeoff.

Topography

The longest glider flight to the south from Te Maire takeoff is 24 km. After this it becomes very tricky and the ridge eventually disappears into un-soarable bush.

The ridge and beach gradually begin to part company just north of Glink's and by the time you are 28 km south of Glink's there is a 1.5km separation between the two.

At the southern end of the ridge the hills are low and wind flow is not always smooth as it makes its way across the scrub and undulating country. This increases the need to evaluate the day as you go and not just push on to a desired turn point just because of the forecast or you have flown there before.

The flight is reasonably straight forward from the Te Maire takeoff to Sandy Slide, 14 km south where the ridge turns into a white irregular sand dune. From there onward the flying becomes very scenic but trickier.

Retrieval

You are likely to receive a lift from either a fishermen or hopefully a helpful flying colleague. However, unless you specifically know someone is coming for you, assume there is no help coming and proceed as follows:

  • Make yourself as visible as possible after landing just in case someone flies over
  • Don’t mess around; the quicker you are on the beach the more likely you will get a lift. Pilots have missed pick up vehicles that made it along the beach just prior to high tide because they did not make their way straight out to the beach. If you make it to the beach 2 hours before high tide and your retrieval driver doesn’t have a reasonably serious 4WD, it could be up to 4 hours until a lesser 4WD vehicle can make it back down the beach.
  • Hang gliders - when you reach the beach, hide your glider and harness in the dunes so it will not picked up by curious 4WD’ers. Put a marker up from the base of the dunes which can be sighted in the dark (just in case)) and remember that water can come up to the base of the dunes at high tide.
  • Start walking north and in the unlikely event you do not get picked up, you will make it back to Glink's Gully a fitter person.

Things to Take Flying

  • Mobile numbers of all pilots to allow confirmation of everyone’s whereabouts when you come back into coverage
  • Water and food just in case a long beach walk is required
  • A radio could be very handy for contacting pilots in the air or if there is an injury during an out landing.
  • Tide times etched into your brain

Mobile Coverage

Assume the following:

  • no coverage on the beach
  • good coverage at T intersection at the top of the Glink's Road.
  • some coverage on the road from the top of Glink's hill to the Te Maire takeoff
  • beyond a few km south of takeoff coverage is very patchy

Options for Out Landing at the Base of the Ridge

  • Inland – Te Maire Rd runs parallel with the coast for a further 6 km south of takeoff (about 2km in from the coast) and then heads over to the other side of the peninsula. There are regular sandy tracks from the base of the ridge to farmland south of Te Maire Rd which are used by pig hunters and 4WD’ers. Unfortunately the number of farms decreases, forestry/bush area increases; hence an increase in the degree of difficulty for inland glider retrieval the further south you go.
  • The Beach - There are 4WD tracks between the dunes and the beach almost all the way from Glink's to Poutu. These soft sand vehicle tracks largely run parallel with the beach with significant distances between access tracks to the beach. Carry out the glider west to the beach unless you have such a reasonably serious 4WD, plus you are sure you can find your way back to the glider. Depending on where you land, some bush bashing may or may not be required on the walk out to the beach. The beach retrieval will typically be better than the inland option.

Cars on the Beach

The firm brown beach sand is a public road and driveable with a 2WD all the way to Poutu Point in the right conditions. Where possible drive and park on the harder sand close-ish to the water.

If the car gets stuck in the softer sand close to the dune, let air out of your tires and dig a track out under each wheel.

This section of beach is regularly travelled by fishermen, with a few cars per day in the winter and many more in the summer when the tide is lower.

The beach is very driveable in the dark as there are never any rocks to the south of Glink's Gully.

Plankton presents as stinky brown sludge on the beach and is much more prevalent in the winter. This smelly scourge can only be effectively removed from the underside of a car with a water blaster.

North of Te Maire

Wind

Typically the wind speed is touch lighter to the north of Glink's but can vary +/- during the flight along the northern end of the ridge.

Topography

Longest flight by a glider to the north from Te Maire takeoff is 56 km.

The cliffs have similar gaps and shape to Kariothi but are mostly a little lower.

You will fly over settlements at Glink's Gully (4km – most southern settlement on the ridge), Mahuta Gap (16km), Bayly's Beach (22km), Omarmari (36km), and Aranga (47km) where the spectacular 1200 ft high Bluff shoots straight up out of the sea.

At 1500 m short of the Bluff the 120 ft high ridge turns into low dunes. This gap has only been successfully crossed once from south to north by hang gliders in the 1980’s but I am unsure if it has been done on a paraglider.

There is further 8+ km of flyable dunes north of the Bluff.

Retrieval is very difficult if landing out north of the Bluff. It is possible to takeoff from the Bluff but farmer’s permission should be sought before doing so.

Idle speculation has it that the Bluff could be the start of an inland XC on a summer’s day if you find yourself on the Bluff early enough and are willing to fly east over Donnelly’s Crossing.

Retrieval

Similar rules apply as South of Te Maire but it is usually easier to hitch a ride north of Glink's. However, don’t mess around as it can still take time to get back to takeoff in the wrong tide and if you have a hang glider, the joy of the return trip shouldn’t be forgotten.

Mobile Coverage

Assume the following:

  • no coverage on the beach
  • good coverage at Bayly's Beach
  • very patchy coverage elsewhere

Options for Beach Out Landing

  • Inland – It is very difficult to climb up the cliff face with a hang glider and harness for significant lengths of the ridge north of Glink's but there is significantly more farmland inland of the ridge than to the south Glink's.
  • Beach – probably still your best bet to get back to takeoff

Cars on the Beach

2WD beach access is possible at Glink's, Bayly's, and Omarmari.

The Bluff and 3 other locations are beach accessible via public road with 4WD only.

Similar tidal restrictions apply for beach driving as South of Te Maire but beware of sporadic small outcrops of exposed rocks on this stretch of beach which very occasionally make short sections of the beach impassable.

Landing

Hang glider - typically requires 1½ hours away from high tide for safe beach landing at the settlements or stream inlets. Landing on the beach at Glink's Gully is a short walk to flat mown grass derigging areas. The ridge south and north of the Te Maire takeoff definitely makes for a flight of two halves.

Paraglider - there can be significant lengths of beach along the ridge where the high water mark reaches the base of the dune or cliff.

Weather and Wind Direction

South West

South of Te Maire

7 day wind forecast at https://www.windfinder.com/forecast/glinks_gully

Daily forecast at http://rasp.nz/rasp/listForecasts.php?region=NZNORTH_N

Mandatory Notices

None but please note Te Maire South and Te Maire North notes above.

Site Radio Channel

None.

Restrictions

Hang Gliding

HG Novice

Paragliding

PG 2

Cautions

See Te Maire South and Te Maire North notes above.

Airspace

Flight ceiling is 6,500 ft AMSL.

Access Conditions

None but please note Te Maire South and Te Maire North notes above.

Site Monitor

Steve Dwyer 027 290 9776

Notes

None.

Site Achievements

To the South, the longest Hang glider flight from Te Maire takeoff is 24 km and 19 km by paraglider.

The longest Hang Glider flight North is 56 km.