Me in a kayak? Anyone who knows me also knows the concept of me doing anything requiring balance is an amusing concept. After a particularly bad bout of vertigo several years ago which left me unable to stand upright for a few weeks, tightrope walking was most certainly ruled out as a career option.
Still, being brave, I signed up for the kayak adventure with Pohatu Penguins. Unsure of what to expect, my main goal was not falling in the water. Firstly, the drive to get there was amazing. The Kayaking itself was in a marine reserve, so finding it was deliberately difficult. But the scenery from the top of the mountain was breathtaking. Unfortunately, the slight haze and the fact I only had my iPhone meant that I couldn’t really do it justice.
Following the descent back into the bay, there was surprise sheep feeding (why not?) and an up close experience with two tiny and adorable penguins that were being nursed back to health after being found weak and exhausted. Discovering that during breeding season they would make the way to the top of the mountain certainly gave that some perspective. I’d want more than a few fish to recover from that.
With only one other couple in the group, it was a very personal experience and we had the bay to ourselves. Having done mass tourist experiences a handful of times in the past, I would always forsake the slick and commercial for the small and passionate. There was plenty of time to chat with the guide and the whole experience was fun and informal. I would certainly consider doing the bigger package next time and getting to see more of the wildlife. Getting splashed by a playful seal whilst out on the water certainly gave us a taste for the great outdoors that was missing after spending so much time in the city. Having spoken to the guide, they also do a slightly modified version for cruise visitors to the area. Companies such as Royal Caribbean tender here now, due to the port damage in Christchurch caused by the earthquakes.
I can also recommend getting fish and chips from Murphy’s on the peer afterwards. Kayaking is strenuous activity, after all.