Explore Wellington Harbour by Kayak

December 5, 2018 11:56 pm63 commentsViews: 119

For a unique perspective on Wellington city, New Zealand’s capital city, hire a kayak for a matter of hours – or even the day – to explore its diverse and safe harbour. See an aspect of the city many never get to experience and view the steep hills of this compact city as the calm waters of this harbour lull you in a relaxed manner and experience the heart of the city as only a few will.

You can drift over blue green waters in the gloomy half light filtering through the overhead boardwalks as you paddle under elderly wharves. Sneak a close up of oceangoing liners and experience an aspect of the city seldom seen by others who are walking overhead on the wooden boardwalks. Pop out of the water and surprise the walking sightseers near the famous Te Papa Museum (New Zealand’s National Museum) as you surface into a specially cut out piece of the wharf which allows the land bound to glimpse what life looks like under the wharves.

You can paddle past parks where families are playing and watch others skating, walking, fishing and riding on the boardwalks that encircle the city end of the harbour. Dodge swimmers and divers from the variety of wharves as you make your lesiurely way around the harbour or drift into the nearby lagoon which is surrounded by cafes and grassy spots for land lubbers enjoying a sunny afternoon.

Be close to the action as cargo ships, and the local ferries carrying passengers between the North and South Islands pass you by. Enjoy the ride as you rock gently in their wash and wave to the friendly locals passing by on smaller boats heading out for a days fishing or sailing on the harbour. Some may be venturing even further afield into the Cook Strait – a notorious strip of water full of rips and huge swells that separates the two islands, North and South, of this little country.

Some lucky paddlers may have a chance to get a closeup of playful dolphins that often frequent the harbour waters. Even luckier paddlers may even catch of glimpse of the great southern right whales who often stop into the harbour on their long sojourn to the southern Antarctic waters or spy the even rarer killer whales that have also been known to call into the harbour on their travels.

For the very energetic and adventurous take a kayak for the day and follow the extensive coast line of the harbour beyond the city limits. Beyond the city lights and sounds you will find isolated bays in which to stop and rest a while and look across the harbour to the far end which signals the entrance to the Hutt Valley. Paddle through huge kelp fields which hide a variety of sealife, including the tiny seahorses and octopus. Circle rocky outcrops which harbour a variety of shell fish – and scuba divers and snorkelers keen to extract them from their strongholds. Further round – outside the harbour entrance – you can explore Wellington’s marine reserve, Taputeranga Marine reserve which has a rich abundance of sealife where looking but not taking is the norm.

If adventure kayaking isn’t for you there is a variety of other experiences to be had on the water. Drift slowly round to the Frank Kitts Lagoon for quiet waters. Venture a little bit further afield to Oriental Bay and get yourself a coffee at the cafe or treat yourself to an ice cream at one of the many cafes or shops near the beach. On the way there pass the Oriental Bay fountain and if you’re lucky enough, on a hot day, the fountain may be flowing and able to cool you off after your exertions. You’ll also have a unique perspective of those who live on their boats as you pass Chaffers Marina. Get caught up in the excitement of a boat race as you pass the entrance way for the Port Nicholson yacht club and its members keen to hit the water in their sailing yachts.

For an even more relaxing time, try to include a fishing rod and try a spot of fishing in the harbour which teems with a variety of fish life including snapper and kawhai.

Welllington city has a variety of companies who can provide provide a variety of kayaks and canoes that will suit both the novice and the experienced kayaker. Guided tours, including night tours, can also be arranged through these companies for small or large groups.

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