If you’re looking for the ultimate way to get in touch with nature and explore some of Auckland’s unique volcanic islands, then Auckland Sea Kayaks is an absolute must!
Our weekend adventure started first thing Saturday morning. We were greeted by Nic our guide at the Auckland Ferry Building and whisked away along the beautiful Tamaki Drive while learning all about the city’s European settlement. On arrival at St Heliers, we packed up the kayaks, had a safety briefing and set off for Browns Island. The weather was perfect, the water crystal clear and every so often the little blue penguins would pop up to say hello.
At Browns Island, Nic led us up the crater and from that vantage point we saw 360° back to the city and around the Hauraki Gulf. After we were treated to a delicious picnic lunch on the beach before we set off to circumnavigate Motuihe Island – our destination for the night.
After arriving into a sheltered bay and having my first dip in the ocean for this summer, we got to work and set up camp for the night. Motuihe Island has a rich history – starting with early Maori settlement through to being an internment camp during WW1 accommodating the famous prisoner Felix von Luckner, to a navy training base during WW2. Now the island is being turned back to its original state with DOC and the Motuihe Trust undergoing pest eradication and re-planting of native flora.
Nic whipped us up a scrumptious dinner with so much food, even the guys started to decline it. Later that night we sat in the middle of the bush, listening to the sound of native birds and the little spotted kiwi. Little did we know that tonight we were in for a treat from nature. As we strolled to an isolated beach we found two kiwis running along the water’s edge – just magic!
After a very comfortable sleep, we arose and got prepared for day two. Today the water was choppy, averaging roughly 18 knots. We set off for Rangitoto – Auckland’s youngest volcano. The ride was fun and the waves were creating white caps...this was what true sea kayaking was all about.
Once we got to Rangitoto we went on a mission to the crater top and the views were unbeatable, in every direction you could see for miles. Being the largest Pohutuhawa forest in the world you wouldn’t have thought there were volcanic rock outcrops scattered all over the island, such a unique landscape.
After our casual walk back down, we mentally prepared ourselves for the last 1.5 hour kayak back to St Heliers. With a strong head wind this was sure to challenge our new ‘pro’ kayaking team.
The one thing I’ve learnt this weekend is kayaking is about just pushing through, if you keep the rhythm pumping, you will cover ground even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it. Overall it was an unforgettable weekend. Sea kayaking is such a brilliant and unique way to explore some of Auckland’s beautiful islands and stunning Hauraki Gulf.