GPS Coordinates: -43.578, 172.775
Wind Direction: E/NE
Minimum Pilot Rating: PG3 / HG Advanced
Access: Driving from Sumner on Taylor’s Mistake road, stop 50 m past Appian Lane where there is a walking track access to Scarborough Cliff Reserve.
Parking: There is parking for 1-2 vehicles at the side of the road next to the walking track access.
Take-off: Is the obvious grassed area on your left, before the cliff edge. Due to the sharp cliff edge, rotor will exist and it will be necessary to positively get your wing flying before you approach the edge. You will need good canopy control to achieve this (for PG’s).
Do not attempt a take-off from here if you are unsure about being able to stay up.
Landing: It is possible to land in the paddock on top of the cliffs (to the south of and slightly lower than take-off). However, expect turbulence from the cliff edge. New trees were planted here in 2020. No landing options in this paddock can be expected by 2025.
Better landing options are Taylor’s Mistake Beach or the normal Taylor’s Mistake LZ.
Flying: The cliff edge take-off requires good control and judgement (hence the advanced pilot rating). Normally you soar the cliffs by flying down from Taylor’s Mistake (and return to Taylor’s Mistake for landing), so have no need to use the cliff take-off.
On rare occasions, the cliffs are soarable when Taylor’s Mistake is not.
It is also possible to fly to Cave Rock and land on Sumner Beach. To do this you should have at least 800 ft above Whitewash head before you leave. Make sure you head north initially (to avoid turbulence from Whitewash head). Aim to land at the back of the beach somewhere near the Sumner surf club. The NE will be stronger here so make sure you do not drift further downwind of the beach.
The cliffs provide abundant lift and you can achieve 1000 ft amsl or more if you find thermals coming off the sea.
The NZHGPA OPM states that SIV manoeuvres must not be performed at the cliffs (due to previous incidents where pilots have ended in the sea without support boats).