Kayaking to Matakana from Sandspit is a rewarding journey, made more pleasurable without contending with vehicular traffic.
According to a GPS app, it’s a 5.4km paddle that takes the average paddler – plus dog, plus 10-year-old – 54 minutes in a tandem kayak. A moderate level of fitness is required, especially when the 10-year-old talks most of the way instead of paddling.
Planning your trip includes coinciding with the incoming tide and, ideally, a good day. Wind can impede progress across the first stretch of open water from Sandspit, but you’re relatively protected once inside the mangrove enshrouded winding narrows of the upper river, where you pass grazing cattle, large houses with private jetties, fallen pine trees, other kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders, jet skiers and fizz boats.
The hum of motor cars alerts you to the approach of Matakana, which deceptively sounds like it is just around the next bend, or maybe it’s the next bend!
Finally, pulling your kayak up the boat ramp you smugly walk through the packed car park for a bite to eat and a nice coffee before departing on the outgoing tide.