Karioitahi - High Side

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.

This is the main site used by Paragliders. The site works well when wind is too light for the other launch sites.

Take Off

Membership of HighSide is required to fly from this site.

Access to the site: is about 300 m north of the access road, via a track starting at the bottom of the cliff (note this track is fully within the private property, since this extends down to beach level). Detailed access description can be found here.

Park in the Karioitahi beach carpark - don’t leave any valuables in your car.
Walk north along the beach about 300 meters, till you cross the waterfall stream on the beach.
Go exactly 40 meters more north past that stream and you’ll see (on your right), the entrance to the track up to the top of the cliff with ropes and steps. (It’s well hidden so look carefully). Once you hit the top of the cliff, carry on along the cliff edge track north, another 200-300 meters to the main takeoff.
Refer to image lower down this page. 

​Site Type



Top landing or 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






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 (see image below).

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.


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 at Karioitahi Beach.
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 Karioitahi, and over the township of Waiuku behind and to the east of Kariotahi

Access Conditions

This site 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 Monitor

Hunter Hawker - 021 855 345
Email: High Side


The best wind direction to fly the 'Light House run' (Manukau Heads) is West South-West.  The gaps in the cliffs 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.
Be aware that the return leg fro Manukau Heads can be a slow going affair with some headwind. 

Site Achievements

Hang glider pilot Anton Lawrence has flown from Karioitahi, 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.