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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

New Zealand: Rangitoto

Rangitoto from a kayak
Rangitoto from a kayak

Despite having a deep and abiding love of the weekend lie-in, I'd still said 'yes' to the offer of a kayaking trip with a couple of guys from the hostel, so at 8.30 on the morning of Sunday 20th October, Greg and I drove to Orakei harbour, where we met John (also from the hostel) and Thomas (a German molecular biologist and friend of Greg's). John was taking a group of kids out kayaking as part of his weekend job, so he set us up with our boats and life jackets, and off we sailed into the harbour, Thomas and I in one two-man kayak, and Greg in a single. Our destination for the day was Rangitoto, the island that dominates the skyline outside Auckland's natural harbour.

A sea kayak in Auckland harbour
The joys of sea kayaking

Kayaking to Motutapu

A pretty cove on Motutapu
A pretty cove on Motutapu

Not content with kayaking to Rangitoto and back in a day, the four of us concocted a plan to explore the waters of Auckland for a whole weekend, so Saturday 2nd November saw us heading off into the bay in a motley collection of sea kayaks. The trip was bittersweet; the islands of Rangitoto and Motutapu are quite stunning, and kayaking round them and spending a night on an island like Motutapu is wonderfully peaceful and very enjoyable. But the pain of kayaking over 30km in two days is intense, especially when you haven't done that sort of exercise before, and I've never been so glad as the moment we landed on Sunday afternoon, with sore arms, aching backs, blisters on our fingers and salt water rubbed into every crevice.