Posts tagged wateractivity
Coastal Kayaking Adventure With KG Kayaks

A moonlight kayaking tour with KG Kayaks was my introduction to ocean kayaking two years ago. Since then, I have been out on Ohiwa Harbour to check out the little islands - which make great picnic spots by the way! Most recently, I joined him on the Whale Island tour - where we encountered some decent swells due to the Winter months. There was even a curious seal pup swimming alongside us for part of the trip. This blog post covers an awesome morning exploring the beautiful coastline between West End in Ohope and Whakatane.

It’s only been a couple of weeks of New Zealand’s Spring and I officially have a tan line thanks to this adventure. Kenny McCracken, from KG Kayaks, was already unloading the kayaks at West End when I pulled into the car park. His good friend, Jim Robinson of Motu Trails, made up the trio on this morning trip. Both are experienced kayakers so I knew I was in safe hands, besides, we had picked a beautiful day to be out on the water (read ‘very little chance of me falling in’).

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Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve: Te Auheke and Ngahopua Tracks

Access Te Auheke track (also known as the Cascade Falls) starts by the Lake Okataina Outdoor Education Centre on Okataina Rd, which turns off from SH 30 in Ruato. The track starts behind the Outdoor Education Centre hut - walk along the left fence line until you see the wooden marker post. You can also access the shorter Rongomai track just a few metres away. I started the walk wearing my gloves, so it’s good to bring warm gear (just in case) even if the sun is shining.

The track itself is relatively flat, and wide throughout. The only time it narrowed was closer to the falls itself where I had to walk over some larger rocks. I thought about trying out my new hiking boots here, and there were some sections with overgrown roots and muddy patches, but as it was mostly flat terrain, my regular walking shoes did the job just fine.

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Glow Worm SUP Tour With Rotorua Jetboard Tours

Every month I try to challenge myself to try something new or to take me out of my comfort zone. April, being my birthday month, I decided to try stand up paddle boarding (SUP). What’s more exciting than SUP? A twilight glow worm tour on a beautiful lake of course! I managed to convince eight friends to give it a go too.

I met Nev from Rotorua Jetboard Tours a couple of months ago at the Rotorua Night Market. He and business partner, Matt, had just started and were keen to get the word out, especially to the locals. SUP was one of those activities I wanted to try over the Summer, but never quite happened. Unfortunately Matt wasn’t able to join us on the tour, maybe next time.

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Okere Falls
Scenic Reserve:
Three Waterfalls
In One Day!

As I drove into the Okere Falls Park parking lot, I immediately felt a sense of deja vu. I couldn’t quite put my finger on that feeling until I was walking down Hinemoa’s Steps that I realised I came here a few years ago to do river sledging.

Okere Falls is a small town on SH 33 between Rotorua and Tauranga, along the Paengaroa Gorge. Google Maps told me that the SH 30 or SH 33 (from Rotorua) drive is about the same time, and being a beautiful day, I decided to take the more scenic lakes drive. If you’re coming from Rotorua, the turn off to Okere Falls is a left turn on Okere Falls Rd, just minutes down the road from the Okere Falls Store. It’s very well signposted, and I didn’t get lost once. That’s saying a lot!

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The Gravel Road That Leads To Tarawera Falls

I drive an early 2000 Toyota Avensis, which isn't the best kind of car to drive on a gravel road. There were potholes that made me wonder if I would have a front bumper by the end of it,  and that is definitely something to consider when you go to visit the falls.

Before you head out to the falls, make sure to get your forest road permit from the Kawerau i-Site. It’s $5 per car, and the guy gave me a week long pass (at no extra cost) in case I wanted to go back the following weekend. With the scorcher of a summer we’re having at the moment, it’s a beautiful place to cool off! There are instructions on the permit, and there are signs along the way.

 

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Exploring Lake Tikitapu and Lake Rotokakahi

Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) and Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake) are one of four smaller lakes between Lake Rotorua and Lake Tarawera. The other two are Lake Okareka and Lake Okataina. I have been to three of the four now (the other being Lake Okataina), though lakes Tikitapu and Rotokakahi are pretty special in my books. Access to Lake Okareka is on the same road as the blue and green lakes, so you can easily do these three in one day.

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Kayaking Whale Island

Rain jackets with hoods up sums up a January summer in New Zealand these last few years. We had a big storm just a couple of days ago, so I knew the water would still be a mucky soup of driftwood, but the rain stayed with us as we kayaked around Whale Island.

Whale Island (Moutohora) is a dormant volcano (although there are active fumaroles) about 9km offshore from my hometown of Whakatane. It is currently a Department of Conservation Nature Reserve, and landing on the island is by special permit only and subject to strict quarantine conditions. Owner and operator of KG Kayaks, Kenny McCracken, is allowed to land on the island, and the tour includes landing on a couple of beaches, which includes Hot Water Beach on Onepu/Sulphur Bay.

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