Sandboarding in New Zealand - Yes, it is EPIC!
Sandboarding has been on my bucketlist for such a long time!
I really enjoy snowboarding, and when I heard you could flow down sand like you do on snow, I was determined to give it a try. The only tough thing was finding a place where you could ride down big mountains of sand.
A few weeks before heading out on our BIG Round-The-World Trip, I seen a video of a fitness blogger on Instagram flying down a mountain of sand. I was instantly curious as to where she had tried this, and to my surprise, it was in northern New Zealand. New Zealand was one of the first countries that we were visiting on our trip, and I was determined to find this location and give sandboarding a try.
The sand dunes are located in the region called Northland in New Zealand, which basically means the area north of Auckland. The best and most popular place to go sandboarding in New Zealand is called the Te Paki Dunes and if you are on the North Island, I highly recommend going.
The drive towards the dunes was just so neat! You are surrounded by green rolling hills and shrubbery and then out of no where, golden sand emerges into the sky. Living in the prairies in Western Canada, I can honestly say that I have never seen so much sand in my life!
Sandboarding in New Zealand is probably the cheapest adrenaline activity that you can do! The Te Paki Sand Dunes are free to visit, all you need to do is rent a board. Try to rent a board before arriving at Te Paki because there isn't always someone there renting out boards and it is more expensive.
You can easily rent sandboards from locals on your way to the Tepaki Sand Dunes for about $15 NZ dollars each. We rented ours from the campground we stayed at for only $5 per person which was super lucky and we were given great boards to use. Renting the boards versus buying your own is the best option because they really are so cheap to rent and you will probably only spend one day on your trip using them.
TIP: Make sure the bottom of the board that you rent is smooth for max speed! We seen some people who rented boards that were roughed on the bottom resulting in a slow ride down the hill...they were pretty bummed out.
You have to do a bit of a hike to get to the top of the sand dunes, with some reaching as high as 100 meters. It is definitely a workout as hiking up a hill of sand is not easy, and it was a windy day when we went so the entire time we were fighting against the wind to get up the hill. Let's just say my calves had a good workout this day.
These beautiful giant sand mountains are just so spectacular to see in real life. But don't let their steepness and size scare you. There are a variety of dune sizes for you to choose from to suit any first-time sandboarder or for those looking to get their blood pumping.
Bryce and I had a few tumbles the first few times going down these hills, but soon we got the hang of it. Sandboarding reminded me more of sledding down a hill of snow in the winter and I was shocked by how much speed you could get going down these sandy hills.
Sandboarding was so much FREAKEN FUN! I was laughing the entire time and we spent almost 2-hours going up and flying back down the hills. We also got sand on us EVERYWHERE! And even though there was still sand in my hair 5-days later (yup, that is not a lie) it was totally worth it!
I made a short video showing our experience going Sandboarding so you can see us flying down the hills too! Check it out below.
If you decide to go sandboarding, here are a few tips, tricks, and info so that you can have the best possible experience!
1. You will get sand EVERYWHERE!
No matter what, you will get sand in your hair, mouth, underwear, bra, arm pits, ears, and nose...literally everywhere! And it will be on you for a few days, even after you shower multiple times (but it is worth it!).
2. Bring Sunglasses:
Sunglasses are a MUST to help protect your eyes from both the sun and the sand.
3. Bring a pair of Socks:
That's right! Bring a pair of socks to walk in just in case the sand is super hot! Socks are super easy to pack and this will help to prevent your feet from burning so that you can play in the sand longer. Your feet will thank you.
4. Wear your Buff!
Bring your Buff to help prevent sand from flying into your mouth and nose when speeding down the dunes. I left my Buff in the car and I so regretted it. Bryce was wearing his and he definitely did not eat as much sand as I did.
I always recommend putting on some sunscreen, however, make sure you put your sunscreen on at least 30-minutes before hitting up the dunes or else you will get a lot of sand sticking to your skin.
6. Bring your phone not your camera:
Sand will literally be flying everywhere! To ensure that you don't wreck your camera or damage any lenses, leave your DLSR back at the hotel and just bring your phone with you to snap pictures and take videos.
7. Have Fun and Be Safe:
As fun as sandboarding is, it is still a dangerous activity. If you aren't feeling comfortable, take the smaller hills first or try placing your heels into the sand to help slow you down (this helps a little bit). Stay safe and have fun!
Would you ever try sandboarding? I'd love to know in the comments below!