[video: tranquil music plays. A seagull flies rapidly overhead. Title: Te Ara Moana, the sea-going pathway. Waves lap on to the pebble beach. Two men untie their kayak from the roof rack and carry their kayaks down to the water's edge. They launch the kayak and start paddling out to sea. They are joined by another kayaker and start moving down the coastline.]
Nic Mead: The great thing about the Te Ara Moana Kayak Trail is that it's designed for all kinds of different sea craft. You don't need the most expensive or the most technical sea kayak to come on the trail.
[video: Nic Mead sits on a log near the waterfront in a regional park]
Nic Mead: You can come with your family on sit up kayaks and you can do small sections and come out for afternoon trips, day trips or if you are feeling more adventurous, come out for the whole five days.
[video: music plays. Kayakers paddle along coastline]
Nic Mead: The start of the Te Ara Moana Trail normally is at Ōmana Regional Park which is on the eastern fringes of Auckland City. From there you can do it over four nights, heading down into the Firth of Thames, so southwest, and ending up in Waharau.
[video: music plays. Still images of Ruth E. Henderson in a kayak along the trail]
Ruth E. Henderson: The trail is quite easy to do in segments. It’s quite easy to be interrupted and do the rest another weekend. So, I think that’s one of the good things about it. And apart from some of the campsites, there is easy road access. So, if you change your mind or the weather changes it for you, then you can stop and start again.
[video: Ōmana Regional Park at sunset. Text: Ōmana Regional Park]
Ruth E. Henderson: Most people would start at Ōmana, and that’s where you would either get dropped off or get unloaded and park your car safely. And then one of the more interesting coastlines is in that first day, as you come around that point into Duder… and Duder is a little gem of a spot.
[video: Still images of kayakers arriving at Duder Regional park, and then still images of four people walking up a hill at Duder Regional Park. Text: Duder Regional Park]
Ruth E. Henderson: You walk up the hill a little way and there are great fantastic panoramic views. It’s a great park to walk on and it’s either a great first night’s camp or picnic.
[video: music plays as two kayaks move swiftly through the ocean]
Nic Mead: So, the next day you head out from Duder to Auckland’s newest regional park at Waitawa.
[video: still images of two men standing at the water’s edge at Waitawa Regional Park. Then still images of a tent, and a woman in a shelter with clothes hanging overhead. Text: Waitawa Regional Park]
Nic Mead: Many of the camp trails are only accessible by water. So even though we are in the vicinity of Auckland, many of the campsites you’ll get to, there will be no one else there.
[video: Two kayakers paddling along the coastline with a huge pōhutukawa in the foreground. Music plays]
So, there’s a feeling of remoteness without having to travel too far away from Auckland.
[video: Music plays, with montage of kayakers paddling towards a huge rock covered with seabirds, and small waves rolling into the shore, followed by two kayakers arriving at Tawhitokino and a wide shot of the beach. Text: Tawhitokino Regional Park.]
Nic Mead: Then from Waitawa, you travel to where we are at the moment which is Tawhitokino, which is a beautiful campground.
[video: two men setting up camp in Tawhitokino. Shots of the shelter with the park sign and landscape. Man walks across a grassy verge to the shelter and starts pumping water into a bottle]
Ruth E. Henderson: And that really is a little treasure. The group I went with all voted this top of the pops. It was excellent. It’s got a shelter, it’s got a stream, it’s got some lovely old trees. It’s really a gorgeous place.
[video: Music plays. Pan of the waterfront with shelter in the background. Two men eating lunch by the waterfront. Sea rolling in and then a group of kayakers set off along the coastline]
Ruth E. Henderson: From there you go down to a much bigger park, which is Tāpapakanga. That has road access, the previous one did not, which is possibly why we liked it so much.
[video: kayakers approaching Tāpapakanga with Ashby Homestead in the background]
Nic Mead: At Tāpapakanga, there are two campsites. The first one you come to is next to the Ashby Homestead, and that’s available for sea kayakers and the general public.
[video: Kayakers paddling along the coastline. Text: Tāpapakanga Regional Park]
Nic Mead: The next campsite which is further south is only for sea kayakers, and so that is a beautiful campsite. It is easier to get to at high tide, but it is possible at low tide just with a small portage.
[video: Two kayakers’ berth on the beach and carry their kayaks ashore. Images of the trees and landscape and campground sign]
Ruth E. Henderson: There is a little bit of carrying gear, but you are rewarded with some huge tariri trees, some mature majestic trees, and there is a shelter, water tap and the like up there.
[video: two men walking up a hill to the shelter and then they examine the map on the wall of the shelter]
Nic Mead: The great things about the campsites on the trail is that they are purposely built or modified for sea kayakers.
[video: The two kayakers using the washing up facilities]
Nic Mead: So, you can pull your kayak up nice and close to the campsite and they’ve got lots of flat ground. They’ve got sanitation facilities, fresh water…they’re really set up for sea kayakers, so you don’t have to lug too much gear with you.
[video: Music plays. Still images of the men setting up their tents, landscape and the next day as they prepare to depart and then paddling on the water]
Nic Mead: Then from Tāpapakanga is the last stretch to the end of the kayak trail which is Waharau.
[video: Still images of kayakers on Waharau. Text: Waharau Regional Park]
Nic Mead: The sea kayak trail connects all the regional parks of south west Auckland together. So, it’s a way to transport yourself from five different regional parks along here.
[video: Kayakers launching their kayaks and paddling along the coastline. Seagull flies across the water, ducks on the water]
Nic Mead: You can make it a big mission if you want by shortening the days or you can come out here on a summer’s day and spend time collecting shells and playing in the freshwater streams. Depending on what time of the year you come, depending on whether you’re a fisherman or you just like laying on the beach reading your book – there’s so many options to do on the trail and you’re only 40 minutes from Auckland. It’s pretty good.
[video: Ocean at sunset. Credits roll. Music fades out]