Living in New Zealand, and particularly in Auckland where you are surrounded by lovely beaches on two very different coasts, you almost feel compelled to get out there on the reasonably temperate ocean. The Pacific Ocean (east coast) is pretty calm, the Tasman Sea (west coast) is pretty rough and this dictates to a degree what you might do on either coast.
A Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) is like a broader, more stable surf board which enables you to stand up and paddle on the ocean. You can buy solid or inflatable boards in a variety of sizes. It certainly gives your core a good bit of exercise. I get a real sense of peace when out there with nothing but the sound of the waves gently lapping on the board and a gentle breeze blowing. It is as close as any of us will get to walking on water!
That’s me below with Rangitoto Island in the background.
Nestled not far from Auckland CBD is the pristine Rangitoto Island. Along with Motutapu Island, it is regarded as a Treasure Island. Part of going there by ferry from pier 2 in Auckland ($28 (£14) return) requires you to ensure you are not taking any ants, skinks, mice, rats, soil or seeds with you – they are totally serious about preservation – especially after clearing the island of possums, wallabies and hedgehogs (to name a few of the pests) in the last 20 years or so.
Rangitoto was formed around 600 years ago as a result of a volcanic eruption. It is the youngest island in the Hauraki Gulf and the last and largest to be formed in the Auckland volcanic field. There are no people living on the island and you have to take food and water with you…and take your rubbish away too.
A moderately difficult walk to the summit at 259m takes around one hour, with add-ons to see (and go into) the Lava Caves. There are also numerous other walks. It is really special to pass through mangrove forests and also to see numerous ferns – including some between 20-30 feet tall! We also saw some birdlife present such as the tiny New Zealand Fantail (not my picture sadly as they were too quick).
Well worth a trip…hard to do it justice with the pictures…but you can see the crater and me outside one of the lava caves below…