getting active around Auckland
There is a huge range of activities to get into this summer, and you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on gear to get started. Here are some of Element’s favourites.
Get on yer bike The Natural High rental and tour company has just opened a new branch near Auckland airport in response to tough trading conditions in post-earthquake Christchurch. You can support them and take some healthy time out by trying out one of their bike tours. Each trip comes with a complete set of course notes, maps and times for public transport links, and you can do anything from a two-day jaunt to Waiheke to a 19-day north-to-south epic.
cyclenewzealand.com Get OFF ROAD on yer bike Woodhill, up near Helensville, is a 40-minute drive from downtown Auckland and sacred ground to the city’s nobbly-tyred brigade. If you have your own bike it’s as cheap as chips: adults can ride any of the 130km purposebuilt single track all day for just $7, with under 15s paying $5, under 10s $2. If you don’t have your own wheels, or are not sure your old shopper will survive the more than 250 man-made jumps and bumps, then adults can hire a sweet ride for $25 an hour, kids bikes are $15. There are plenty of beginner options, so you don’t have to break your the bank, or your neck. If you’re feeling adventurous, have a go once it gets dark.
bikeparks.co.nz Splash out on a kayak Auckland Sea Kayak offers simple, safe tours of the Hauraki Gulf where you literally paddle your own canoe. You can choose anything from a quick six hour round trip to Brown’s Island/motukorea to three days of canoe camping, exploring all the gulf has to offer. All equipment, food and training is provided and you are constantly supported by a highly experienced guide.
aucklandseakayaks.co.nz Run for it New Zealand has some of the most breathtaking off-road running trails in the world in every sense of the word. Whatever your ability Karekare-based Running Wild is just 45 minutes from downtown Auckland and can introduce you to some of the best in the Waitakere Ranges and beyond. And, as your guide will be Mal Law, one of NZ’S most experienced trail runners, you know you will be in tireless and enthusiastic company.
runningwildnz.com Explore organically Organic Explorer is a handy directory for the conscious tourist in New Zealand. And with a freshly updated guidebook out, there’s plenty of exciting new activities to check out: everything from walking tours to horse rides and all the accommodation and events you could want. The website also has a wealth of ideas.
organicexplorer.co.nz Climb (almost) every mountain Extreme Edge and Climbzone indoor climbing walls at Glen Eden and Panmure will get you and the kids doing the human fly in no time. You can put your mind at rest about cramped sweaty spaces full of musclebound experts; this is more about big airy barns full of friendly folk of all ages and abilities. No membership is required, no experience is necessary and all firsttimers get a free safety lesson from an experienced instructor. Many of the walls now have an automatic belay device, which means you don’t even need somebody to hold the rope for you.
extremeedge.co.nz Fly the eco-friendly skies Forget polluting the skies with an engine, strap yourself into a paraglider and soar like a bird. Introductory days that will teach you the basics and get you up, up and away are $190 from Auckland-based Sky Wings. Auckland boasts world class coastal ridge soaring on the west coast beaches and good ‘thermalling’ sites are within an hour’s drive, where flights of 4080km are possible. For something different ask about paramotoring and speedflying.