# 23 Kayaking at Ohiwa Harbour

Tandem kayaking with Morgan at Ohiwa Harbour

Tandem kayaking with Morgan at Ohiwa Harbour

Do you feel guilty taking time out for yourself when the house is a mess, or you haven't done the washing? I do. It's been a busy few months, and even when I'm home, there's always something else on the task list that I thought was more important than me. Then I started to feel tired all the time, and I knew if I didn't take some time out, I would be burnt out by the middle of the year.

Let's Get Physical

Kutarere is a twenty minute drive from my house, and rarely do I ever stop there. It's a small village on the way to Opotiki, with a school, dairy and home to one of the hidden gems of the Bay of Plenty. Ohiwa Harbour's beauty is something we locals take for granted, and up until this year I hadn't even set foot at the water's edge. It was a quick drive as we headed to KG Kayaks' headquarters on Kutarere Wharf Rd, a five minute drive from the main highway.

The view from the McCracken home is simply stunning, and their family is warm and inviting. It's one of those places that a photo is never enough, it's better that you see it for yourself. As we turned up the drive-way, we could see some kayaks in the water, an earlier tour making their way back to shore. Within twenty minutes we were on the water.

Ronna the Explorer in the mangroves, not the best idea when you're on a double kayak.

Ronna the Explorer in the mangroves, not the best idea when you're on a double kayak.

I have blogged about KG Kayaks on a previous moonlight kayaking adventure, so it was great to see the harbour in the day time. Morgan and I rented a double kayak, which came in handy when I wanted to take pictures on the water. There was a light head wind as we made our way to Hokianga Island, one of five main islands in the harbour. We were alone on the water, apart from one fishing dinghy and various birds feasting by the sand bar.  

We headed into the mangroves as sometimes fish or even sting-rays take shelter in the shallows. Not today. Luckily I heeded Morgan’s advice to head into deeper water as I forgot about the length of the kayak, and that it wasn’t made for mangrove slalom. After Morgan got us out of the mangrove jungle, we made our way to Hokianga Island for our snack break.

We snacked on some peanuts and a protein bar while admiring the view. If it wasn’t autumn in New Zealand, you could almost pretend it was a tropical getaway.

Hokianga Island, Ohiwa Harbour.

Hokianga Island, Ohiwa Harbour.

Morgan checking out the view of the harbour from Hokianga Island.

Morgan checking out the view of the harbour from Hokianga Island.

The swells picked up a bit as we made our way to the jetty, where Kenny and his wife were meeting us. I had never been to this part of the harbour, it looked like a popular swimming spot in the summer. Although it's autumn, the water was still 21C, and even I was tempted to join the locals for a swim.

The view closer to the jetty where we would be picked up.

The view closer to the jetty where we would be picked up.

I wish we could have stayed longer, and watched the change of light on the harbour. However, I had to get back for a girls night out, and Morgan was going to take out the longline with his brother. We both left happy knowing it was only a short drive and could come back again next time our weekend was free.

Adventures don’t always have to be grand or overseas, sometimes it’s cool to check out your backyard and see what the tourists see.

As I write this, I’m looking at my pile of washing and know they’re waiting for me. And the dishes. Oh and my messy bed. Then I smile. That guilt is gone. And now, I will do my chores with love.

Have you loved yourself today?


Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

Ronna Grace Funtelar

A thirtyish storyteller, hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.