Petone Beach is a good alternative to Lyall Bay in southerlies for learners and intermediates, if you are not quite ready for big waves. Excellent learning in light southerly conditions and some fun bump and jump in a strong southerly.
There's a good grassy rigging area and plenty of parking at Hikoikoi reserve near the Mobil station along Petone Esplanade.
Who does it suit?
Suits all levels.
What are the best conditions?
Petone is best during a southerly wind, although it is quite onshore and sailing is along the beach. At low tide the beach dump is reduced, so its a bit better. Learners will end up right back on the beach in onshore conditions and there are plenty of onlookers in Petone so its pretty safe. Avoid in northerlies, when it is offshore and gusty.
How do I get there?
Travel out from Wellington towards the Hutt Valley, turn off at Petone
and go along the foreshore to the far end. Parking just before the road
leaves the shore and rigging in the adjacent picnic area, Hikoikoi Reserve, or better
still veer away from the beach past the Mobil Service Station then take
the first right, go across the park and rig just behind the sand dunes.
What should I look out for?
Sandy beach drops away slowly, watch out for sand bars at low tide. Strong southerlies often means there's been heavy rain so watch out for debris that has made its way into the harbour from the Hutt river.