Auckland paddle: Tahuna Torea nature reserve

Tahuna Torea

Tahuna Torea nature reserve is a a gorgeous tide assisted paddle up the Tamaki estuary in Auckland:

Tahuna Torea nature reserve has some gorgeous birdlife:

We stopped for a walk along the reserve:

And couple of selfies

I did this with one of the locals that lives off this river, Russell Millar with Yakity Yak Club.

Great easy paddle – especially if you like to take your time looking at the birdlife in the picturesque river lagoon – that nearly became a landfill for toxic waste a few decade ago,

If you like this paddle, also check out the upstream part of the Tamaki River:

Auckland kayak trip: Whenuapai to Riverhead pub paddle

Riverhead Pub paddle

Riverhead pub paddle is one of those magical kayak trips where you can just sit  in your kayak and let the tide take you to the pub and back!

This is second in a series of tide assisted social paddles around Auckland for the laid back evening paddler who wants an easy paddle to a waterside pub / restaurent around Auckland.

Launch point: Whenuapai

Eight of us from Auckland Yakity Yak Club launched from Waimarie Rd boat ramp, Whenuapai.

Riverhead Pub paddle
Whenuapai launch point

High Resolution Video of the trip to Riverhead pub paddle

The video was shot with the just launched Canon EOS 70D and the newly released GoPro Hero 3+ without any post processing on colour / exposure / balance. It just goes down to show how advanced the new senors are at working at low light even in the hand of amateur.

The trip

We started off at 6:00PM with nine paddlers: MikaelaChrisJanet, Luke, Olga, Sandra & Christine, myself and Shaun.

The Pub



Auckland kayak trip: Matiatia Bay, Waiheke Island paddle

Matiatia Bay, Waiheke Island kayak trip is an intermediate trip (because of the distance) but very enjoyable paddle; Hugging the coasts of the tiny Browns Island and Motuihe Island and crossing the open water to Waiheke Island for lunch and paddling back.

I did this with Yakity Yak in winter on a really calm and sunny day. This was a non stop paddle to Waiheke, a lunch stop and a non stop paddle back. Only stopping to look at some passing dolphins on the way.

The paddlers

Matiatia Bay

waiheke island paddle Video!!

Full HD Video – mainly of Matiatia Bay … 

For more detailed GPS data, click here.

Auckland kayak trip: Hobsonville point to Harbour Bridge paddle via Kendall Bay, Chelsea & Little Shoal Bay

Hobsonville point to Harbour Bridge paddle is an excellent beginners paddle that is relaxing and safe with numerous exit points.

Setting off – Catalina Bay


Full HD Video – showing the highlights of the trip, including Waka Ama race we ended up in the middle of !!

Beach Haven

Kauri Point

Chelsea Sugar Factory

Waka Ama Race

Lunch stop at Little Shoal Bay

And return back to Hobsonville point


Auckland kayak trip: Tiritiri Matangi Island, Whangaparaoa

Tiritiri Matangi Island Paddle is a fantastic intermediate Auckland kayak trip, starting at Army Bay, Whangaparaoa Peninsula, past Shakespear Regional Park and circumnavigating the island with a lunch stop in the island. Despite the swell, we did the Kayak Trip and some rock gardening within 5 hours on a lovely day in May.

Army Bay, Whangaparaoa Peninsula – launch point

About 45 mins drive from central Auckland, Army Bay with a slightly surfy Beach, is an easy spot to launch from with good parking facilities (and a fresh water tap!) at the edge of the National Park.

Paddlers on this trip

I did this kayak trip with Auckland Yakitiy Yak Club who I paddle with regularly.


Full HD Video – showing the highlights of the trip, including Rock gardening in the swell !!

The coastline along North East Bay  and all the way down south to Fisherman Bay is pretty spectacular with caves and rocks. With swells over 1.5 m, it was a exhilarating dodging the rocks and boiling water. The above video pretty much sums up the excitement.


Circumnavigating the Island of Tiritiri Matangi

The island is a bird life sanctuary. It has some of NZ’s endangered species and you always spot the birdlife when you are paddling around the coast. It also has a ferry terminal and a lighthouse as well as strategically located gun placements from second world war.

Lunch stop at Tiritiri Matangi Island

With gorgeous sandy beach and the whole island for ourselves, we had a very relaxing lunch on the beach.

The return journey to Army Bay, Whangaparaoa Peninsula

Crossing the channel with a tailwind behind us was easy – we were pretty lucky as the channel can get pretty choppy when there is wind against tide.

Got back in time before rush hour. A fantastic paddle – highly recommended!

If you want the actual GPS and speed data from the trip, checkout this trip in Movescount.

Auckland kayak trip: Crusoe Island Paddle via Motuihe

Crusoe Island Paddle is a magnificent intermediate Auckland kayak trip, starting at St Helliers Beach, past Browns Island with a lunch stop at the gorgeous Motuihe island. We did this Islands of Hauraki Gulf Kayak Trip within 7 hours on a lovely April weekend despite strong head wind on the return trip.

St Helliers Bay, Auckland – launch point

About ten mins drive from central Auckland, the main boat ramp at St Heliers Beach, is an easy spot to launch from with good parking facilities / toilets & cafe’s.

Paddlers on this trip

I did this kayak trip with Auckland Yakitiy Yak Club who I paddle with regularly.

Crusoe Island

I have paddled past Crusoe Island half a dozen times before – but this is the first time I explored the actual island, named after Robinson Crusoe.

While the rest of the kayak group circumnavigated the island, I found a safe landing spot:

The view from the top of the island was pretty nice – and I could see the rest of the group rock gardening around the island:

Motuihe Island

This is one of my favourite islands in the gulf, with lovely swimmable beaches with soft sand with a slight red tint. We paddled to the southern tip of the island and hugged the coast, passing a few small beaches on the East coast of the island.

For morning tea, we stopped at Calypso Bay on the Eastern end of the Motuihe Island.

For lunch, we stopped at Ocean Beach on the Northern end of the Motuihe Island. Ocean beach is very popular with boaties and we had a fantastic break on the sheltered beach relaxing:

We set off after lunch to navigate ourselves around the Western end of the island:

The return journey past Browns Island

The return journey crossing the open water was made tough by fresh head wind and a very strong current – but we managed fine – though my fingers kept getting in the way of my snaps:

 St Helliers Beach

It is the first time I seen the St Helliers Beach at low tide on full moon. By the time we landed, the tide was coming in and the wind has dropped a lot.


Auckland Kayak Trip: Howick to Whitford Paddle

Howick to Whitford Paddle is a really relaxing ‘social paddle’, starting at Eastern Beach, Howick with a lunch stop at Whitford at Amy’s Kitchen. I did this Auckland Kayak Trip on a gorgeous April morning over the Easter holidays.

Eastern Beach, Howick

About twenty mins drive from central Auckland, the Eastern Beach, Howick is an easy spot to launch from with good parking facilities.

Some of the Paddlers

I did this kayak trip with Auckland Yakitiy Yak Club who I paddle with regularly.

Mellons Bay, Howick

Cockle Bay, Howick

Cockle Bay is an easy exit point for emergencies or can form an alternate start location if you want a shorter paddle or can be a meeting point for others joining in.


Full HD Video – showing the highlights of the trip, including exploring of the ‘storm water drain’ in Cockle Bay, ‘sinking house’ and a failed attempt at shortcut through the mangrove !!

Whitford, Howick

Beautiful countryside of Whitford is at the end of the estuary.

Lunch break

Amy’s Kitchen – where we had lunch

Map of Auckland Kayak Trip around Howick

Auckland Kayak Trip: Cornwallis to Graham’s Beach / Awhitu Regional Park / Kauritutahi Island

The Cornwallis to Graham’s Beach / Awhitu Regional Park / Kauritutahi Island kayak trip is an intermediate level paddle around the upper end of the Manukau Harbour.

1. Cornwallis, Manukau Harbour

Cornwallis is one of the coastal towns around Waitakere ranges and it is pretty easy to access via road: If you are coming from the West, get off SH16 just after Henderson at Te Atatu South exit. If you coming from Auckland, get off at New Lynne exit and follow the sign posts for Waitakere Ranges. Once you get to Titirangi, instead of taking the Scenic drive towards Piha, take the Huia road and you will hit Cornwallis within a few mins.

We set off from Cornwallis in the morning sun:

Wharf to heaven: Wharf disappearing into bright light of the morning sun

We then followed the Cornwallis peninsular coastline towards the middle of the harbour and started crossing the narrow neck of water. Soon we could feel the difference in how the kayak handles the strong current pulling the kayak sideways and why so many people avoid paddling nearer to the entrance of the harbour.

The picture show the opening of the harbour and the peninsular stretching to the right. You can also make out the wild Tasman sea through the gap beyond the Manukau bar at a distance.

2. Graham Beach Manukau Harbour

The paddling got more pleasant when we crossed the open channel and reached the tip of Big Bay on the southern side of the harbour.


I stopped over on one of the deserted beaches around Big Bay when I spotted an unidentified animal running along the beach. It disappeared by the time I got out of the kayak:

The next beach along the coastline, Graham’s Beach was dotted with batches and holiday homes as well as the odd fishermen.

Graham's Beach


3. Kauritutahi Island, Manukau Harbour

On the way to our lunch stop I thought I will check out the little island. With the high tide I was able to circumnavigate the island – though I could not find a good spot to land.

Kauritutahi island
Kauritutahi Island

I love to see what this island looks like in low tide. According to the chart, you should be able to walk to the island during low tide. If anyone done any paddling during low tide and got some pictures of the Harbour and Kauritutahi Island, please feel free to share via the comments section below. Also if you like the pics in here and this post, drop us a line below and say Hi!

Now back to the trip – Kauritutahi had a couple of trees and a huge random pine tree in the middle of it. The tree looked so out of place on the little island – almost like someone planted it a few years ago!

4. Awhitu Regional Park, , Manukau Harbour


I rejoined the others – and we landed at the sandy beach of the Awhitu Regional Park for lunch and shared some Christmas cookies (see the bucket hanging on the tree below):

We also cleaned up the beach and collected the rubbish (someone have left dozens of beer bottles), after being inspired by a man we met a few hours earlier at Cornwallis: The man had told us that he has been living out of his car for six years and spends his time taking photo’s of rubbish he finds in beaches & he clears them. He then sends the photos of the rubbish he found to John Key. Don’t know what John does with his pics – but I sure appreciate what the man does with the rubbish in our beaches.

CornWallis 011


5. Return journey to Cornwallis

On the way back we maintained a more inward route a bit further away from the harbour opening:

GPS map
Click on map above for detailed GPS map

But still the head wind had picked up to around 20 and the current was getting stronger as we crossed and it was a pretty hard paddle to make it back. We made pretty good time considering the head wind – click on the map above to checkout the GPS data in MovesCount.

One of the cool things about this this paddle was that it was in the direct flight path of the flights from Sydney – we saw a continuous stream of passenger jets crossing the Manukau head from Tasman sea and dropping the under carriages over our head and landing at distance at the Auckland International Airport runway. During the peak time on Sunday afternoon, we saw typically 3-4 planes queuing to land one behind the other across the Manukau harbour. The flight-past’s kept us entertained:

We ended the paddle just after 3:00 PM. I got some really cool videos from the trip – will add it over the weekend – so please check this post again in a couple of days.

I did this trip with Auckland Yakity Yak Club. Special thanks to Cary the trip leader for timing the tides and current for a safe crossing. If you want to comment on this, please do so below. You do not need to register with this site to leave comments – you can login with your favourite social login instead (e.g. Facebook / Google + / Live / Yahoo etc…)