Waiheke Island is an oasis just a 45-minute ferry ride from Auckland. Known for its beautiful beaches and wineries, Hannah and I were baffled that we hadn’t visited yet! As we were planning our day trip, we decided that kayaking would be a great way to experience the well-renowned coastline, while also being active! We found a kayaking tour company in Hannah’s Lonely Planet guidebook and reserved a half-day tour.
We woke up to a beautiful day!
Hannah and I got geared up and settled into our double kayak. My stunning co-captain:
We started off our tour by visiting our tour guide’s home…his boat! Ross (our tour guide) lives on this boat, docked just off the shore from where his kayak shack is. He lives there with his Nepalese wife and their new baby.
He was so cute! Then, we were off!
With Hannah and I there was Ross, Rene (an avid kayaker from Washington), and a mother and her teenaged son from Auckland.
There were beautiful views in all directions. Forget Lord of the Rings, this place looks like Mario! Look at those green hills and that blue sky! Plus, the water was SO clear in spots. Its always such a magnificent sight for me to see, because I grew up going to the Jersey Shore! Not exactly crystal-clear waters like this…
I was in charge of steering our boat with our rudder since I was in the back. That mean that on top of paddling, I had to push hard left or right with the pedals at my feet. It added an entire layer to the workout! Plus, it was super tricky because the pedals kept coming off the track. When that happened, Hannah and I were left to steer with just out paddles (SO much harder) which resulted in us almost getting hit by a ferry at one point. But I won’t go there.
The tour was so great because Ross showed us all the cool little channels between rocks that we could explore. This was my favorite, a little tunnel!
Liz (the mother) was kind enough to get a photo of us! In addition to the channels, we were able to enter all these little coves. It was so fun, you felt like you owned that bit of beach!
We saw some pretty amazing wild life, too.
Like colorfully-beaked birds. That bright orange beak can break shellfish!
And penguins! Did you know New Zeland had penguins? They were so cute and made little squeaky sounds.
Ross and Liz raced us at one point, which was fun AND got my heart rate up! There weren’t any big waves, but when they came we would paddle hard and fast to hit them straight on. It would feel like a little roller coaster ride!
Ross was quite the character. He had been giving kayak tours for over 20 years, so he was pretty committed to the lifestyle (hello, he lives on a boat!). He explained to us why he’s so devoted and why it’s so great for your health. Apparently, it’s not just good exercise. Breathing in the salty air and walking on the shells, sand, and rocks is supposedly connected to longevity.
Most importantly, he explained to us about how kayaking is all about rhythm, which is so important to master for kayaking and for life in general. Wise man. My life is pretty rhythmic back in the states, but here in New Zealand, it is all over the place! With such an open schedule, I am having a hard time establishing a routine, something I cling to in order to survive back at home. It makes me feel a bit scatterbrained and, dare I say, a mess at times, but maybe what I need isn’t a routine, but a balanced rhythm for living. It’s something I’m thinking about. All I know is that I can learn a thing or two about the lifestyle here in New Zealand.
On our journey, we met a Waiheke family spending their Sunday on their boat. The kids were swimming, the wife was sunbathing, and the dad was inside cooking bacon and eggs. I had a feeling that they do it quite often, too.
It was so peaceful out on the water. The water was calm, it was quiet, and the kayak glides through the water so smoothly. All in all, it was an absolutely gorgeous day of kayaking, though I am so tired from our almost 5-hour tour! And I think my arms might be sore tomorrow…
How do you find rhythm in your life?