What's wrong with just getting a damn ferry to Rangitoto? Swim it? Kayak it? What next?

My first visit to Rangitoto I sure did it the hard way. I swam. From Takapuna. About 3.5k. And then i ran up, over and around it. In 28 degrees’ Boxing Day heat. The mere thought of it now exhausts me!

As someone who LOATHES  swimming I thought i was going to  die. If not by drowning, then from insanity over the persistent voices in my head that kept saying “why the “f” am i doing this?”!!! 

No great plot killer here but clearly i didn’t die………..I went on to do Ironman and then it all felt worth it (through gritted teeth!).

I have never, EVER  felt tempted to do that swim again but have always wanted to climb Rangitoto in a more leisurely fashion. And hey i didn’t have an i-phone last time so there wasn’t even that sought after digital proof of my endeavours – no view from the top recorded for online posterity.

In case you don’t believe me – here we are about to set off. As i said – no photo at the end……couldn’t lift my arms maybe?

So next trip, how about I take the ferry? 25 minutes in full Fullers luxury, with an Island Gelato mint choc chip cone in my hand, watching the Hauraki gulf go by. Jump on that little chug chug “train” up to the top with a bucket load of tourists, take a few selfies and job done?

Now that would be too easy………This time I decided to KAYAK over. Of course, why not?!!

 Being a very fair weather, beach holiday, “have a little paddle with the kids before the afternoon beer” kinda kayaker i thought it wise to seek help from the experts and joined Auckland Sea Kayaks sunset trip to Rangitoto.  

From the start in St Heliers to the finish (back in St Heliers 6 hours later) myself and the merry band of 9 others in our group had a great time – it was really FUN. Most importantly, right from the initial set up it felt SAFE. In fact safety featured before we even got there. We had some torrential downpours and wind in the afternoon and many of us thought that we would not be going.  But with their far superior weather forecasts and years of experience the crew were confident it would clear and be safe. It did and it was! They definitely know best. The safety briefing and practice on the beach was exactly what was needed for a bunch of novices and a reminder to respect the sea we were entering. After all we were kayaking back in the dark – quite an experience for many to be in a tiny bit of plastic bobbing through the gulf with a mini light to mark us out.

About 20 minutes into our hour long paddle GINGERNUTS came to mind. Random! Was I thinking of our red headed tour guide Daniel? No – i was thinking of my Mum……….and how she would resort to gingernuts to quell seasickness even on cross channel ferries. I felt a tad queasy i must confess, as we got out into the gulf and the wind and the waves got up a bit. But my pride stopped me from barfing over the side and the cup of tea that the crew served us up on hitting the Rangitoto wharf (not literally) was very welcome. In fact the bbq dinner produced soon after landing was all awesome. Yes I am always ALL ABOUT THE FOOD and there has to be some reward for a 7km paddle right?

Then it was up to the summit we went. About a 45 minute walk up with our guides giving us lots of interesting intel on the island, the wildlife and the Hauraki gulf in general as we ascended to get our views of the sun setting over the city. The panoramic views of the gulf are a selfie stick lovers dream up there.

Head torches required for the walk back down were supplied. Of course we skipped down quicker than we went up – all eager to get back in that boat and start our night time kayaking experience! Fuelled by delicious chocolate brownie (all important food again) off we chugged banded together to keep us safe on our passage home. We could not have planned it better as the sky over North Head was lit up with an amazing fireworks display, which we later discovered was the Pride festival in Freeman’s Bay. A welcome 10 minute distraction from our paddling efforts back to shore.

So was it better than a Fuller’s ferry? Absolutely! Who wants to crawl like ants on the island with hundreds of other visitors when you can enjoy it all to yourselves with a small group? We have such amazing nature on our doorstep here in Auckland, why not be a part of it? Get on the water, climb up the mount, get inspired by the amazing scenery that millions travel the length of the world to see every year. PUSH YOUR BOUNDARIES and TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

I look at Rangitoto daily on my humdrum commute and it always makes me smile. Today it makes me smile that bit bigger knowing I have kayaked over there and had a great time doing it. Just as importantly I made my daughter smile when I told her of this “big adventure” and she immediately wants to come next time! INSPIRING THE KIDS – that’s priceless.

As it is quite a long kayak with the hike at the other end and paddling after dark this trip is not the most suitable to families. However no fear, there are a few other day options run by Auckland Sea Kayaks/ Mission Bay Watersports WELL SUITED TO FAMILIES – fun and safe at the same time. A 2.5-hour tour of the bays (Coastal cruiser) is our recommendation for younger families and a half-day trip to Motukorea (Brown’s Island) if you have over 12s. Both are a great way to get the kids to learn the fun to be had when you paddle away from the beach! 

I would totally TRUST MY FAMILY with these guys. In fact you can book through Pick n Mix and we can save you the hassle of booking and SAVE YOU MONEY with a discounted rate. Just drop us an email or call us.

Don’t just take my word for it, new found friends from the trip Gavin and his nephew who had recently relocated to Auckland had this to say “‘We both really enjoyed it. So much so that we have booked the 2 day Motuihe trip!”. That’s great family bonding time right there!

More information can be found here: https://www.aucklandseakayaks.co.nz/ and here https://www.missionbaywatersports.co.nz/kayak-tour-mission-bay/

What are you waiting for?