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Outdoor Adventures: A Quick Fix

William is a well-known Shore identity, a sought-after motivational speaker and an accessible role model to New Zealand youth. He was one of two young climbers caught in a volcanic eruption on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu in 2007. William is passionate about the outdoors and education and has worked as a primary school teacher on the North Shore. However, an exit from teaching has seen William set up the William Pike Challenge Award which is a popular Intermediate and Middle School outdoor education programme run over one school year. He is a monthly columnist for Channel Magazine.

As we roll into February, the majority of us are back to work and have slipped into our pre-Christmas routine. Gone are the summer holidays, although the long summer days are still with us.

They’re great for easing back into work routines, allowing for one or two extra activities at either end of the day. That’s just enough to keep the summer buzz alive and let everyone get their ‘quick fix’. A quick fix for one, can be entirely different for another. The important thing is to actually get your quick fix - to relax, to clear your mind, to keep fit, and have fun.

I’ve just had my quick fix, and I feel like a million dollars. During the week I followed a good looking weather system tracking towards the North Island. I knew it would be silly not to take advantage of the settled weather over the weekend, and my mate Cameron agreed. The car was packed on sunrise and I couldn’t wait to get on the water - the conditions were perfect. Cameron and I soon had our kayaks next to the car and began packing. We were watched by on lookers as our mound of gear was transferred into our kayaks. On our way to the water, we were followed by a gentlemen who was interested in our plans. He started with, ‘You boys look like you have enough gear for an overnighter. I didn’t think you’d fit it in...’. Little did he know...
Our new friend waved us off and we paddled into paradise. The wind was light, it was warm and we had the next two days to ourselves. Our first stop was the Rangitoto Island light house. Paddling over shallow reefs right up to the towering lighthouse was a treat. From up close, the lighthouse is impressive. A ladder emerging from the water to a locked door was intriguing. It had us wondering what you’d find inside the lighthouse. Our imaginations ran wild.
We continued south down the inside of Rangitoto Island for sometime before passing the Ferry Terminal on our left. On our right we passed Browns Island. This is one of my favourite Islands, for it is rich in Maori history and it’s an extraordinary crater that one can discovery from a short walk-about.
Further down the Motuihe channel we paddled past Motuihe Island and Islington Bay - both popular spots for boating and exploring. We keep to the left and hugged the Motutapu Island coastline. The water was very clear and we got our thrills from paddling through rock gardens with small surges of the ocean. From around the point appeared our destination for the night, Home Bay on Motutapu Island.
We exchanged smirks to each other as we could see we had the entire bay and campsite to ourselves. Hard to believe after we have just left behind a city of 1 million and upwards.
With the tide in, it was short walk to our prime waterfront campsite. We dumped our gear and stretched our legs with a walk around the campground and up onto the hilltops. We were rewarded with stunning views across to Waiheke Island and beyond. The islands were giving off an orange glow from the setting sun.
To top it all off, we had a relaxing swim before dinner. I was well satisfied. Then the beef stir-fry went down a treat as we shared stories and had a good laugh. That night we didn’t bother with a tent and instead slept under a fly with our heads poking out the end. That way we could get in some star-gazing.
I was only half way through my quick fix and I had almost forgotten about life back on the mainland. How lucky are we to live in a paradise where we have so many opportunities at our finger tips?
Home Bay is found on the East coast of Motutapu Island. Fullers run a scheduled ferry service over the summer months. Alternatively, Home Bay is accessible via private boat or kayak. Bookings are essential and can be made online. Note: Motutapu Island is accessible by experienced kayakers only.

www.doc.govt.nz for more information.

by William Pike

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