Local Spots


Great flat offshore sailing in Northwest. 45 kms from Queenstown. Rig on the grass near the jetty.

Rat Point

Good in west or northwest.  Rat Point is 17km west of Queenstown.  Take the Glenorchy Road out of town.  About 1.5km past the bluffs above Bob's Cove, just before the road goes up the hill, there is a small track down to the lake on the left.  The track can be quite rough, so the club generally has a working bee at the start of each summer.  There is a grassy area there where you can rig up (please don't park on the grass). You can either launch off the rocks or take the walking track down to the beach . From the beach you may have to swim out a little to catch the wind. It is generally easier to come back onto the beach rather than the rocks.

Sandfly Point (Mt Creighton)

Good in south west, west or northwest.  Sandfly Point is about 28km west of Queenstown along the Glenorchy Road.  Access to the lakeshore is just on the south side of 25 Mile Creek bridge.  

One Mile

Good in a strong west or southwest. On the west side of town, just past the Youth Hostel, blast across the entrance to Queenstown Bay. Can be gusty and often only lasts for an hour or so.

Give the Eanslaw a very wide berth as she is a large steam ship with very little maneuverability. Also, if the Earslaw did need to change couse to miss a wind or kite surfer, she can only head to the beach or the reef - neither are good options.  Please note that there is a bylaw which says all vessels should give way to the Earnslaw in Queenstown Bay.

Kelvin Heights

Kelvin Heights works well in a Westerly. There’s a short track right at the end of the road. Instead of turning right onto the golf course go up it to the lake front. There is a little cul de sac where you can park, not brilliant for rigging and a few rocks to scramble over, but good fun when you get out, you end up sailing across the bay where Jacks Point is. Worth a try for a change!


This hidden gem is on private land. Huge thanks to Dick and Jilly Jardine who gave SLWRC members permission for access. Leave gates as you find them, no dogs, no fires and no camping.

If emergency help is needed, you can call Jardine's caretaker Trevor Burton who lives on the property. Trevor's phone number's are 03 442 3660 or 027 6766 887.

Lake Hayes

Lake Hayes at the rowing club. When metservice shows Southerly directions at 50+km’s/hr its worth a look for those who would find Jardines and even Frankton arm too extreme. Go past Lake Hayes Estate and Past Lake Hayes Pavillion and take the first dirt road turn off that goes quite steeply down to the rowing club hut. Great area for rigging much warmer water during the summer months. There is a bit of a wind shadow trying to get out here but your’re soon into the wind to get going.

South Coast

There are numerous sailing sites along the south coast  - check the local Windsports Southern club blog for sailing on the day

Awarua Estuary either:

  • at the Awarua Bay Yacht Club, Mid/high tide (W/S/E).  The building is no longer used, it is OK to camp here, there is a toilets, or at the DOC area, follow the track after the bridge, shingle beach. Launch near jetty (NW)
  • 2-3. Oreti Beach. Sail anywhere along here. (NW/W)

Riverton either:

  • at Riverton Beach, access is via back roads (W/E), or
  • in Riverton Estuary, access along by the old train tracks, mid -high tide (NW)

Colac Bay

  • east end for serious surf and waves (SW/w)
  • west end for those who want flatter water to start ! You can start here and then work your way down the beach to the wavey end ! Possible to camp at east end, shelter but no toilets (SW/w)

Monkey Island. Good camping spot. Toilets and a useful shed for wind shelter. Favourite with the Dunedin crowd. (NW/W/SW)


Lake Dunstan, Pisa Moorings

Pisa Moorings on the western side of Lake Dunstan in Cromwell. Works in NW/N or N and sometimes NE. We used to sail from Northburn on the other side but the locals reckon this newer spot has more consistent wind. It’s certainly much better for kiters to launch. It has a nice long stretch of open lakefront that would work for body draggers to go a few hundred meters downwind then walk back up. It’s also a very pleasant place for just hanging out or having a social time as Wanaka/Alex sailors use this spot. It’s a run of about 400-500m across so encourages you to gybe more. The water is not deep so at some times during the year it can be much warmer than the Wakatipu. Locals say there can be OK temps in Sept before the snow melts start.

Safe Riding

Have you thought about Plan B ? So what are your back up options if something goes wrong?

*Firstly, wherever you’re on the water, keep an eye on your mates. Count cars and people on the water, particularly when you’re thinking of leaving… and if in doubt ring both the Harbourmaster and Coastguard… put these numbers in your phone now:

  • Coastguard 111. But there will be at least ½ hr delay while protocols are followed and the boat is launched so also ring the Harbour Masters as they may be able to get a commercial boat or taxi there quicker.
  • QLDC Harbour Master Marty Black 0274345289. Dave 0274 142270. If in doubt, ring - be safe rather than sorry.

*Secondly, do you have all the gear you need ?  Lifejackets, lifebelts and helmets are all available from marine stores or try www.hutchwilco.com.

  • Lifejackets are really useful. They keep you warm in winter, and if you’re out a long time in an emergency. Most have a pocket in which it’s easy to stash; spare rope for a tow or to secure gear in the case of a rescue, a knife, mini hand held flares... even a cell phone in water proof bag.
  • There are lifebelts available as an alternative if you think a jacket is too bulky and would affect your harness. The belt can be worn with the pack backwards.
  • Helmets, protect your head and also keep you warm in colder waters.  

*Beware of the TSS Earnslaw - the lovely but large and difficult to manoeuvre steam boat. Stay well away from the Earnslaw. The harbourmaster has the power to give an instant large fine or ban sailing here at the One Mile if there is trouble.  Pass on this message if you see anyone new at one mile, please tell them too.

*Lifejackets are mandatory on a SUP and when using Club Gear