Duke of Edinburgh adventurous journey

Our Guide Eric has just returned from a three day adventurous journey kayaking around the Hauraki Gulf as part of a Duke of Edinburgh (DOE) Sea Kayaking Award Trip. The expedition introduced seventeen students from an Auckland school to sea kayaking sharing this enjoyable, exciting, positive and at times challenging pastime which so many New Zealanders find joy.

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is an epic, fun and safe location to fulfil the requirements of the DOE Award. In June Eric completed his DOE Award Leader training, making him part of a bigger network of facilitators encouraging a spirit of adventure and discovery through DOE Award Trips.

Eric states that “Auckland’s backyard, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is the ultimate destination to plan and undertake a Sea Kayak journey, as a guide I encourage young people to further develop an awareness of our environment and the importance of protecting it.”

The young participants spent 3 days and 2 nights over the Labour Day long weekend island hopping through the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. This was the gold practice journey and a fantastic trip getting them prepared for their DOE Gold qualifying adventurous journey which they plan to take later in the year.

Day 1: The students started their journey on St Heliers beach, learning their equipment and what can be the challenging pursuit of packing their belongings into compartments of double kayaks. Definitely a team building and Tetris exercise.  The journey continues on the water paddling across the harbour to Rangitoto Wharf to stop at the first of 5 islands on the trip. An idyllic afternoon paddle across Islington Bay and up the Motutapu Island coastline- the 178 million year old land mass, settling for the night on the island at Home Bay. The students took the evening to spot a takahē, a rare and endangered flightless bird re-establishing on this pest free island.

Day 2: Starting early the group put to practice paddle strokes and specialised techniques that may be used to skilfully guide their kayaks through narrow spaces or manoeuvre around rocky outcrops. After a morning paddle the group landed at Rakino Island, paddling along the West Bay known for its isolation and unspoilt status, giving the students the opportunity to explore the sheltered bays, boasting clear waters. Over lunch the group discuss kayak sailing, and prepare for an afternoon of setting sail down the North Coast of Motutapu Island, passing the historic Billy Goat Point and heading into Gardeners Gab on high tide. Putting their newly learnt skills to practice, the afternoon was spent manoeuvring the mangrove lined inter island Gab that joins the two islands. The late afternoon was a straight line paddle over to the sheltered bay at Motuihe Island to set up camp. Here the students shared a night walk with the aim of spotting a Tuatara, a rare reptile often spotted on the island.

Day 3: The Group awoke early for the final day of exploration, starting with wet exit drills and rescue techniques.  The group then kayaked to Motukorea Island (island of the pied oyster catcher bird), stopping on the island for lunch, to take a walk to the summit, and of course enjoy the panoramic views. The final leg of the journey was an easy paddle to St Heliers beach viewing the Auckland skyline from a waters perspective.

Auckland Sea Kayaks is proud to facilitate DOE Award Trips and adventurous journeys and be part of the essential team working in the field. Here participants can plan and execute their own expedition under the guidance of our experienced instructors, for more information about upcoming trips please visit: www.aucklandseakayaks.co.nz/the-duke-of-edinburgh-award-overview/