Barnicoat is the most popular and most sensitive site in the Tasman region, as the official landing at Ngawhatu Sportsfield is in restricted Nelson Airport airspace. It is essential that any pilots wishing to fly this site complete the induction beforehand, and carry a correctly set altimeter and UHF radio while flying. It is also strongly advised that first flights be carried out in the presence of a local pilot who can discuss the particularities of the site with you as well as the conditions of the day.

Location: Eastern Hill behind Stoke, Nelson

Elevation: 1980 feet AMSL (602 metres)

GPS co-ordinates for launch: 41°34’35.52″S, 173°25’38.38″E

GPS co-ordinates for landing: 41°32’25.91″S, 173°23’27.51″E

Airspace: Limited to 5,500ft AMSL. Controlled airspace to the west (see Special Instructions below).


  • Paragliding: Student/PG2
  • Hang gliding: ?

Launchable wind directions: NNW-NNE

Landing Zones: Official paragliding landing is Ngawhatu Sportsfield (locally known as Octopus). Bombout is on the ridge lines are the base of the hill below launch. Low performance hang gliders may also choose to land at Ngawhatu Sportsfield. The designated LZ for high performance hang gliders is Saxton Field, however tall trees make landing there challenging.


  • Strong valley wind/sea breeze in summer.
  • High voltage power lines on the hill close Ngawhatu Sportsfield LZ when approaching.
  • Limited landing options over the back of the hill and to the south.

General Flying Guide: Basic thermalling ridge runs to the north and south. Extended XC is possible to the northeast, east and south.

Landowners: The take-off is leased from the Nelson City Council and official landing (Ngawhatu Sportsfield) is owned by NCC as well. The bombout site is owned by a local farmer (the Sites Officer has details).

Access Requirements: By walking (~1 hour) or driving. There is a locked gate preventing most people from driving up – join our local WhatsApp group for carpooling information (koha applies).

Special Instructions: Proximity to the airport and CTZ requires a mandatory online induction. All pilots intending to land at Ngawhatu Sportsfield must call the Nelson Control Tower on (03) 547 9799 (ext. 9) to open airspace before launching and write the time that airspace is open until on the chalkboard below the site information sign. Pilots intending to land at Ngawhatu must also carry a working altimeter and UHF radio set to 477.250 with CTSS 123. Pilots must not land at Ngawhatu Sportsfield unless they meet these three requirements; instead the bombout site must be used.

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