So you want to be one with the ocean but you’re a) not into standing up for hours and b) not the best of swimmers? Well, Listers, we’ve gotcha back—and just so happen to know a super-fun, super-chill water activity for you to dive into.
Kayaking lets you cruise at your own pace, see some beautiful sights, and get a solid arm and ab workout while you’re at it. And since Auckland is based around two massive harbours, there are plenty of places to give kayaking a go. If you've got access to your own boat, here are some great suggestions for places to paddle all around Auckland. Otherwise, locate that life jacket and paddle your way through our list of Auckland’s best kayaking spots.
If you need a little push in the right direction, head to Orakei’s Okahu Bay. Although plenty of seasoned kayakers use this spot for their daily fix, it’s a great place in Auckland to learn the ways. Ferg’s Kayaks offers lessons, tours and hires—whatever floats your boat. You’ll be a kayak pro in no time.
Let’s be real. One of the perks of sitting down while kayaking is the chance to get some gram-worthy snaps. Auckland Sea Kayaks will take you for a beaut sunset tour to Rangitoto Island, where you can watch the sun disappear and the stars start to twinkle from the sea. A hearty Kiwiana dinner will be waiting back at St Heliers Bay boat ramp—a well-deserved feast for you and your adventure-loving crew.
It earned a place in our Best Stand Up Paddle Boarding Spots, but Mission Bay is also a solid spot for kayak novices. Mission Bay Water Sports has everything you need for enjoying an hour or two in the deep blue. Their sit-on-top kayaks are easy to use and won’t make you get your hair wet, so you’ll emerge from the water looking as fab as you did when you started.
You actually have no idea what you’re doing and that’s a-ok. Kayak Waiheke will lead you on a guided coastal tour around Waiheke’s pristine coast. With half-day, full-day, 2-hour and sunset sessions, you’ll find something that suits your adventure level. Whatever you choose, expect kayaking through coves, caves and canyons with lots of photo opps. You might even see a dolphin or two.
Head up the SH1 to Okura to take in a serene paddling tour around the Okura Marine Reserve with Canoe & Kayak North Shore Tours. Enjoy a three-hour tour of the scenic reserve taking in native seabirds and spotting stingrays as they glide beneath your boat. For something a little different, head out for a night paddle on their spectacular bioluminescence tour. These guys also offer kayaking courses if you're really feeling it and want to take it to the next level.
Hop in the car for a day of scenic river kayaking just 35-minutes north of the big smoke. Puhoi River is a picturesque place to give kayaking a go or for when you’re after a city escape. Leave your beloved tech devices behind (seriously, ditch the phone) and meander down the Puhoi River for 8km. Need some gears? Puhoi River Canoe Hire will hook you up with kayaks, lifejackets and paddles—all you need for an un-guided kayak escapade.
Got the adventure buzz? Here’s Auckland’s Top 10 Hidden Adventures.
Image credit: Kayak Waiheke