As I mentioned in my previous post here, one of the best things that came out of 2016 for me was a new love for my country. I'm going to make sure that I spend 2017 getting reacquainted with the Land of the Long White Cloud! For one of my last date nights with my boyfriend before he heads over to Asia for 4 months (yes, I am very jealous!), I wanted to squeeze in an epic date - kayaking to Rangitoto Island in the evening.
I booked online here, it was very easy to do and when I called up with a few questions, the man on the phone was really polite and helpful. It costs $185pp (NZD) which includes kayak and full gear hire, the tour itself and dinner on the island, plus a transfer to and from the city if needed.
We launched from the boat ramp at St Heliers Bay, which is about 15 minutes out of the CBD. We were well kitted out with dry bags, splash skirts to stop water getting in the kayak, waterproof jackets, life jackets and boat shoes. It was roughly an hour of fairly rigorous paddling to get out to Rangitoto Island. It was really exciting to see Ovation of the Seas on her way out of the harbour, she's one of the largest cruise ships ever made and too large to dock in Auckland so she was sitting in the middle of the Waitemata Harbour. Compared to the city she is absolutely gargantuan. Unfortunately, by the time we reached the island she was long gone.
Once we reached Rangitoto Island we stopped and had dinner, which was steak, bread and salad, and I do believe they would cater to special dietary requirements as they asked for them in the online form. The food was basic but just what was needed, and once we'd had enough we set off to reach the summit. I think it would've been about an hour up to the top, we had a good pace and our guide, Ryan was full of interesting facts about the island for us.
It's not a hard hike to the summit, you just need to have a reasonable level of fitness. I'm lucky to be quite naturally athletic, if I wasn't I think I would've struggled a lot more thanks to all the Christmas eating I'd done the day before! I was definitely the slowest though which was a bit of a wakeup call. Once you reach the top you're treated to a full 360 view of Auckland, from the Waitakere Ranges in the West to the Coromandel Peninsula in the East, Hibiscus coast in the north and the Hunua Ranges in the South if it's clear enough.
We walked back down to catch the sunset from a good vantage point, but there was too much cloud cover. It was still stunning though, and definitely worth the trip! Once we reached the bottom it was time to gear up and head back. I saw plenty of phosphorescence in the water and after about halfway the clouds started to clear and the stars peaked out which made it really magical.
I think the highlight of my trip however, was when Ed (67) was getting changed behind a random car on the boat ramp in the dark, completely unaware that there was a passenger sitting right next to where he was changing.
Have you ever been up Rangitoto Island? Would love to hear about your experiences!