48hrs Winter Kayaking in Taupo

After patiently making our way out of Auckland through the wet rush hour conditions we were on our way and after a quick bite to eat at the Loose Goose in Tirua we arrived at the All Season’s Holiday Park in Taupo.

After the drive it was straight into the hot pool to relax with a nice cold beer and discuss what lay ahead for the weekend. Whether it was the steam coming off the pool or the fact we were in relaxing mode we didn’t see the “No Alcohol” sign and got a telling off from the owner.

Jerusalem Bay to Kaiapo Bay via the Maori carvings

Saturday morning started wet and yucky and the weather looked like it had settled in but after breakfast things began to change for the better. Already prepared we headed off around to Jerusalem Bay where we launched and set off anti-clockwise around the lake.

P1000057

Making it to Kaiapo Bay we left the return trip to explore every nook and cranny. We had seen reports that there were other carvings at the northern end of Mine Bay but we didn’t see any evidence of these and put them down to people getting confused with the Southern end of Mine Bay.

P1000077

P1000075

In the misty conditions the trees played hide and seek in the cloud yet the colours of the Lake bed shone pure white and blue like on a bright sunny day. In such as short piece of shore line the landscape changed from smooth stones, sharp rock and cliffs, native bush including Kowhai, sand stone shelves with mushroom like formations, native grasses and weed and even pine trees.

P1000083

Unlike last year when we needed to keep our distance from the shore and breaking waves, this year we managed to have a detailed look and admire the carvings created by Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell in the late 70s.

P1000098

P1000104

Exploring Lake Hinemaiaia

After a late but lovely lunch put on by the ladies we set off for Lake Hinemaiaia so we could be off the water before it got dark. After the constant rain heading into the weekend the road was wet and muddy with large puddles but no one got stuck in the mud (figuratively or physically).

P1000139

P1000153Progress was slow as no one wanted to break the surface of the water with their paddle. A couple of strokes then gliding through the mirror surface. The dark water enhancing the mirror effect so even rainbows reflected in a full circle.

The constant rain in the past week hindered access to the waterfall. Waters were flowing more quickly and we were unable to make the last push through a 1 meter wide gap with cliffs either side (no where for the paddle to go). On the return trip we played hide and seek in the reeds of the swamp and make it back to the cars just as a sun set.

P1000150

Orakei Korako to Ohakuri Dam

Last year the folks at Orakei Korako didn’t want us using their jetty. Whatever the reason we found another entry point upstream which we used once again.

P1000170

P1000175Assisted by the river flow we meandered down river keeping a careful ear on possible jet boats but there were none. We explored the warmth of the thermal springs flowing out into the Waikato River including the hot waterfall complete with a Geyser warning. We had showered the previous night so considered ourselves clean enough and opted not to take a dip.

The steam from Orakei Korako was visible over the last corner so we knew we were close and dived in for a detail look and to warm our buttocks. The kayaks providing just the right amount on insulation.

P1000182
We would normally turn around here but the night before over a few Stones Green Ginger Wine’s we modified the plan and carried on down river. This appeared to be a favourite spot for duck shooters with many hides only accessible by water.

Unfortunately the previous wet weather played havoc with our pick up point and Megan managed to get us on the mobile to update us on a new location closer to the dam. The road was just too muddy to get through and didn’t add a lot of paddling.

P1000169

Note: There now appears to be public access to the water at Orakei Korako.

 

48hrs Winter Kayaking in Taupo

After patiently making our way out of Auckland through the wet rush hour conditions we were on our way and after a quick bite to eat at the Loose Goose in Tirua we arrived at the All Season’s Holiday Park in Taupo.

After the drive it was straight into the hot pool to relax with a nice cold beer and discuss what lay ahead for the weekend. Whether it was the steam coming off the pool or the fact we were in relaxing mode we didn’t see the “No Alcohol” sign and got a telling off from the owner.

Jerusalem Bay to Kaiapo Bay via the Maori carvings

Saturday morning started wet and yucky and the weather looked like it had settled in but after breakfast things began to change for the better. Already prepared we headed off around to Jerusalem Bay where we launched and set off anti-clockwise around the lake.

P1000057

Making it to Kaiapo Bay we left the return trip to explore every nook and cranny. We had seen reports that there were other carvings at the northern end of Mine Bay but we didn’t see any evidence of these and put them down to people getting confused with the Southern end of Mine Bay.

P1000077

P1000075

In the misty conditions the trees played hide and seek in the cloud yet the colours of the Lake bed shone pure white and blue like on a bright sunny day. In such as short piece of shore line the landscape changed from smooth stones, sharp rock and cliffs, native bush including Kowhai, sand stone shelves with mushroom like formations, native grasses and weed and even pine trees.

P1000083

Unlike last year when we needed to keep our distance from the shore and breaking waves, this year we managed to have a detailed look and admire the carvings created by Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell in the late 70s.

P1000098

P1000104

Exploring Lake Hinemaiaia

After a late but lovely lunch put on by the ladies we set off for Lake Hinemaiaia so we could be off the water before it got dark. After the constant rain heading into the weekend the road was wet and muddy with large puddles but no one got stuck in the mud (figuratively or physically).

P1000139

P1000153Progress was slow as no one wanted to break the surface of the water with their paddle. A couple of strokes then gliding through the mirror surface. The dark water enhancing the mirror effect so even rainbows reflected in a full circle.

The constant rain in the past week hindered access to the waterfall. Waters were flowing more quickly and we were unable to make the last push through a 1 meter wide gap with cliffs either side (no where for the paddle to go). On the return trip we played hide and seek in the reeds of the swamp and make it back to the cars just as a sun set.

P1000150

Orakei Korako to Ohakuri Dam

Last year the folks at Orakei Korako didn’t want us using their jetty. Whatever the reason we found another entry point upstream which we used once again.

P1000170

P1000175Assisted by the river flow we meandered down river keeping a careful ear on possible jet boats but there were none. We explored the warmth of the thermal springs flowing out into the Waikato River including the hot waterfall complete with a Geyser warning. We had showered the previous night so considered ourselves clean enough and opted not to take a dip.

The steam from Orakei Korako was visible over the last corner so we knew we were close and dived in for a detail look and to warm our buttocks. The kayaks providing just the right amount on insulation.

P1000182
We would normally turn around here but the night before over a few Stones Green Ginger Wine’s we modified the plan and carried on down river. This appeared to be a favourite spot for duck shooters with many hides only accessible by water.

Unfortunately the previous wet weather played havoc with our pick up point and Megan managed to get us on the mobile to update us on a new location closer to the dam. The road was just too muddy to get through and didn’t add a lot of paddling.

P1000169

Note: There now appears to be public access to the water at Orakei Korako.

You may want to have a read about the same trip last year (Kayak Fire and Ice in Taupo) as it was quite different.

 

Kayak Matheson's Bay to Goat Island

When asked who had kayaked this part of the coastline before, only one person raised their hand so it was certainly a good start. The forecasted wind was non-existent so 12 of us headed off in near perfect conditions.

Rock gardening was the name of the game keeping a careful eye on the set of 3 larger swells as we ducted in and out of the rocks riding the surges. Fortunately the higher tide meant we could pop in and our of some caves and an archway. The best cave was shaped like a "U" into the cliff face. You could enter one side go into the cave and come back out through the other side. Unfortunatley this is where John lost his flag and light.

Cheryl entered the water unexpectedly being left high and dry on a rock as the swell retreated and I mistimed the large set of 3 catching a biggy side on and trying to brace against air. These events provided some rough water rescue practise (see lessons learned below).

P5020012

P5020018

P5020066 
We eventually made it to Goat Island in plenty of time to have lunch, a bit of a snorkel and time to sun bathe. The water was significantly colder at Goat Island than along the coast south of the Island.

Unfortunatley the choice of landing spots looked ideal but upon packing our boats discovered that the shags nesting above didn't have any form of toilet training. Everything will get a more thorough wash this trip.

P5020043

The return journey took us out and around Goat Island and back down the coast. The wind had picked up to 15-16 knots and stayed on our nose the whole way with the waves come in on the side. Not the most comfortable trip but well within the capabilities of the group.

Lessons learned

  • Tow the right way up makes is easier for the tower, prevents the kayak from filling up and protects the flag from submerged rocks.
  • The leg over rescue just filled the boats with water so in these conditions a t-rescue would have emptied the boats a lot faster.
  • Lay on your back when being towed out of the danger area and you should float over any submerged rocks.
  • Don’t park your kayaks under nesting shags
Note: Photos supplied by John

 

Labels