October Long Weekend – a big high was predicted, and a morning high tide – perfect conditions for a paddle in the Ruakaka Estuary and wildlife reserve. Ruakaka is 20 minutes south of Whangarei and 10 mins from Waipu in Northland. Approx. half way to the Bay of Islands its a great place to stop off and discover some of the real New Zealand.
Simon Ellison lives in a small cottage on the estuary in Princes St just off the State Highway. From this location he hires kayaks and leads ecotours, we rang him and made sure he had a double kayak waiting for us.
The estuary was full tide, with the water crystal clear, the view out to the sand dunes and off shore islands was magic. We set off to paddle up the river to the bridge at Bream Bay College – 1.5 hours return – 8 kms. We were on our own, as we paddled through mangroves, spotting Kingfisher and nesting Oyster Catchers. The potutukawa lined river banks were exquisite – another month or so and they will be a riot of red. Kayaking is so quiet – it is blissfully relaxing. You stop paddling and still keep moving as the momentum carries us forward.
Simon also leads a 2.5 hour eco tour which I have also done – it is a fabulous way to find out more about the shorebirds that make this estuary their home. Simon used to work for DOC and is very knowledgable about the area. Low tide is ideal for the eco tour, but any tide will do.
Afterwards we drove along towards One Tree Point and the Marsden Cove Marina and the Waterline Café where we enjoyed a coffee as we watched the boats coming and going from the Marina. A perfect day.
Prices: $15/hour single kayak
$25 double kayak
Ecotour: $60 for 2.5 hour guided paddle and introduction to the shorebirds
To book or find out more contact Simon
09 432 8668