A Trip Down the Puhoi River

Now that the weather is starting to finally feel like summer here in Auckland, it was time for us to make the most of it.  Kayaking down the Puhoi River is something that we have always wanted to do and now that the girls are a bit older we decided it’s the perfect time.

We booked 2 double kayaks and the cost for that was $200, we booked the early morning session for a couple of reasons, mainly with kayaking you have a short window based on tides.  Also our girls are early risers so it made sense booking the first slot.  Travelling up North in the holidays there is always traffic so going first thing means we didn’t get stuck in any traffic and stress about not making our allocated time.

Because both girls have not kayaked before they got a lesson from one of the owners so that was really good.  We all then got fitted with life jackets and then we were shown the route on a map that we will be kayaking along.  The route runs from the Puhoi River all the way down to Wenderholm Regional Park.  You can only go one way, you can’t sort of turn around and go back to the start.  I bet you are wondering well how the heck do you get back? Have no fear, there is a shuttle bus that is waiting at Wenderholm to pick you up and take you back to Puhoi where your car is parked.

The distance of the kayak trip is 8km long and takes two hours to get to the end.  The kayaks we used had rudders in them so we had a bit of help when we needed to steer the kayak.  Now with taking children along the ride, our girls are 10 and almost 6 so they were not too little, however, Chloe who is almost 6 did ask a couple of times how much longer till we get to the end!!!  They did really well and actually did paddle most of the way.  If your child can’t handle sitting in a confined space for that amount of time I would suggest get a babysitter and just the parents give it a go.

Also it’s hard to paddle once you get closer to the end as the estuary is very big and open so the currents and wind makes it a bit more challenging and also makes your muscles scream out just that little bit more.  I honestly thought that the day after I wasn’t going to be able to use my arms, but surprisingly it was my calf muscles that had enough!  Oh the pain, probably from controlling the rudders the whole way.

Make sure you are prepared, plenty of sunblock and water bottles.  You are allowed to take a bag onto the kayak so you can pack some essentials in there.  We didn’t get too wet but having some dry warm clothes in the car wouldn’t hurt.  Don’t forget the snacks, because after kayaking for that long, everyone is hungry!

It’s great fun and at times we just didn’t paddle at all and relaxed and talked for a bit. The water and scenery were beautiful.

So go on and get cruising down that river!


Ronell x


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