1. Okahu Bay
Set off from Okahu Bay, which has one of the most comprehensive kayaking facilities. You can hire gear and skills training is available for novices, kids and experienced kayakers. Potter around the bay for an hour or so, or go further afield to explore the popular Mission and St Heliers bays: come ashore to enjoy the many cafes and restaurants. Guided tours are also available around the Waitemata Harbour operating year round. Fergs Kayaks, (09) 529 2230.
2. Sunset on Rangitoto
For an incredible view of Auckland, a sunset night sea kayak to Rangitoto Island will be hard to forget. Take a guided late afternoon paddle across to Rangitoto and climb to the top of the island to watch the sun slip down behind the city. Have dinner at the base of the volcano before paddling back in the pitch black to the mainland. The horizon will be impossible to lose with the twinkle of the city lights. Re-starts in September. Auckland Sea Kayaks, 0800 999 089.
3. Manukau estuaries
Take an eco kayak to see some of Auckland's wildlife on one of the estuaries of the Manukau Harbour, Waiuku or Taihiki. Or kayak down the flat waters of the Waikato River to see pied shags and royal spoonbills. Trips range from half or full day up to eight days freedom (unguided) trips with all kayaking and camping gear supplied. Operating all winter. StressFree Adventures, 0800 GO BY KAYAK.
4. Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island seems another world away from Auckland but is only 35 minutes by ferry. Try a day circumnavigating the island, stopping for a snorkel (gear is provided) or at the stunning, remote, sandy beaches of Cactus Bay, Garden Cove or Owhiti Beach. Operates through winter. Ross Adventures-Sea Kayaks, Waiheke, 09 372 5550.