Coromandel Peninsula

Now that summer has gone there is a distinct change as the sun shifts on the horizon and the weather becomes more settled. We are having some very warm sunny days interspersed with the rain and this day was no exception.

We took a day trip to the Coromandel, not having been there for maybe 10 years and followed the narrow, winding road along the west side of the peninsula for about an hour until we found this beautiful spot.
Even though there weren’t many fish biting off the rocks it was well spent just soaking up the sea air and view in the sun.

Cornwallis Sunrise, Manukau Harbour, Auckland

We set out very early on this day on our double kayak and had a brilliant start with the sunrise at Cornwallis Wharf.  The sea was beautifully calm and flat and it was luxury to paddle on after having some previous experiences where the water here has been choppy or with strong currents.

A few hours into the morning we crossed paths with a school of Kahawai who popped their heads out of the water as they splashed along noisily. They were very lively and jumped off the fishing line several times in the rush to catch them but we went home with one and it was good to try out our systems on our new kayak.

Houhora Heads, Kaitaia


The east coast of Northland was our destination for a weeks holiday at the beginning of January. The Stag had been resting on its laurels for a year and needed a change of scenery and this time we added a trailer with our new double kayak with electric motor.

This stop at Houhora Heads afforded us the opportunity to explore the channel accessed from Wagener Holiday Park and out into the harbour. We heard that people were having a lot of success catching kingfish. The first task was to catch a ‘livey’ so we trolled around Tokoroa Island which is a small rocky island island just out from the boat ramp. There were lots of small fish running and we caught one Kahawai but it was just a bit too big for the job, so we headed out to the harbour mouth and sat for a while but there wasn’t any action for us or a couple of other kayak fishermen nearby.

Coming back we were against the tide so we pulled over to take it slowly back to the camp and I was able to collect a large bag of shells on the beautiful beach there. Many have a burnt orange colour to them as seen in the pipi above and there was quite an abundance and variety available.

Pinwheel snail shell (Zethalia zelandica)
Northern Tuatua (Paphies subtriangulata)
Pipi (Maori), (Paphies australis)
White whelk, Hopetea (Maori), (Dicathais orbita)
Ostrich foot, Takai (Maori), (Struthiolaria papulosa)

Lake Rotoehu, Rotorua


Lake Rotoehu wasn’t going to be our destination on this day but we ended up here after seeing there was too much chop on the water from the westerly wind at Lake Okataina. It turned out to be a great option with the day reaching a balmy 25 degrees.

We meandered along the left side of the lake trying our luck at catching a trout. The trout numbers are assisted by local authorities and can be fished all year round. We stopped about two hours later on one of the far shores for some lunch. The water is beautifully clear all along the shoreline as can be seen in the video below. A lot of work has been carried out in the region to stop run off from farmlands and the growth of algal blooms.

Many holiday homes are nestled into the banks of the lake and there were plenty of people on the beaches enjoying the day. It was also a popular place for water skiers. One private beach had an interesting carved sculpture on the beach as seen in photo 3 above.

Army Bay, Whangaparoa Peninsula, Auckland

When considering venturing out on the kayaks the wind is always the big deciding factor on where we might go. On this day the winds were forecast to be light later in the day which turned out to coincide with the recommended fishing tide at Whangaparoa. So we headed out mid afternoon to try our luck.

While resting up on the water I had a play with some MagiCam videoing towards the shore when I heard a loud splash and turned to see that a gannet had plummeted into the water about 5 metres away. We had been watching them for an hour or so already diving for fish further away from us. Video at the ready I was able to capture the froth of bubbling water where the bird had descended then it popped up from the depths and flew away. There was no sign of a fish being caught however they can dive to 12 metres and will swallow their catch on the way up.

No sign of any fish from the depths for us either and we observed a couple of fishing trawlers anchored in the bay. We look forward to the time when proposed changes and protection for all our recreational fishing areas start to bring the sea life back proper levels.

Karekare Beach, Waitakere Ranges, Auckland


The iconic black sand beaches of West Auckland are wild and windy and are a great place to feel the force of nature. We encountered a handful of surfers and beach walkers as we arrived at Karekare but in a few weeks time the lifeguards will be back on patrol and the beach will be back to its summer popularity.

We chose this spot on the rocks to the far right of the beach for some fishing on a mid October Sunday afternoon. A recently purchased fishing guide recommended this spot when the winds are north-easterly. The tide was outgoing for most of the time and as we sat on the rocks there was the constant, repetitive pounding of the sea on the rock edge to one side that produced some spectacular sea spray. We had the place mostly to ourselves apart from two lots of couples climbing up to explore the area.

Care is required as the rocks are fairly high and unfortunately stingray took our freshly caught kahawai bait twice and had to be cut away both times. We did however get another good sized kahawai to take home.

This video is taken looking down the coast towards Whatipu.

Kaitarakihi Bay, West Auckland

The beginning of spring has lived up to its usual pattern of windier days, fluctuating temperatures and sporadic rain. This weekend we were happy to see more settled weather with clear sunny skies.

A trip to nearby Cornwallis was in order to see if the fish were biting. It was a bit too cold for me so I opted to stay on the shore and had a good fossick along the beach at Kaitarakihi Bay. Quite a few people drifted in through the day to enjoy various activities on the beach.

There are a lot of smaller shells that get tossed onto shore here and with a good look you can find lots of little treasures. I was delighted to find the fan scallop shown here because of its amazing colouring. It is interesting to see how shells grow different colours in their patterns. Many of the shells here have purple colours through them. The last fan scallop I found in Matheson Bay was very orange. It may be a form of camouflage they use to blend into the area to avoid predators.

This video is of the view out to the Manukau Heads and the Tasman Sea beyond.

Tawharanui Peninsula, North Auckland


Now we’re into spring we were looking forward to getting out and about again. We’d been hearing about Tawharanui and decided to check it out on a warm but cloudy and grey Sunday afternoon.

There are several places to descend to the shore along the peninsula and we stopped at a rocky outlet where a scattering of people were fishing and diving. The seagulls were very interested in what we were up to and were quite happy to have their picture taken.

Although the beach was mostly rocky, on closer inspection I discovered an abundance of sea tossed rock oyster shells which I thought would make an interesting addition to my growing collection. They reminded me of tortoise shells and I may use them for a creative project soon.

Orere Point, South Auckland

Orere Point is a good hour and a half’s drive from our place.  We headed out at 7.00am on an early June winter’s morning to see fog settled on the farmlands as we approached the coast – very picturesque.  The beach we were hoping to launch our kayaks from was unfortunately very windy and white caps on the sea told us it was too risky to go into.  So we backtracked to the main beach reserve to find a spot that clearly was the best one for us given there were many other kayakers parked there.

We headed northward up the beach.  It was still quite challenging with an easterly wind and chose to keep fairly close to the shore.  There was also quite a rolling swell in areas.  Paddling into the shore of a couple of bays was very pleasant but there wasn’t much available for shell collecting.

Saddle oyster (Monia zelandica)
Cats eye, Ataata (Maori) (Lunella smaragda)
Cushion sea star (Patiriella sp.)

A video here shows one of the northern bays:

Matheson Bay, Leigh, Auckland

For a change in the middle of May we drove up the east coast to a sheltered bay in North Auckland, Matheson Bay.  It was last of the beautifully warm Autumn days we have had this season and it brought people out to swim and relax on the beach which isn’t something you often see at this time of year.

The beach is very gentle with rocks circling the bay and it was a very safe place to launch our kayaks.  We initially took a tour to the left to see how the fish were jumping but there wasn’t much action that way, so after a while we turned back and headed for a secluded beach back past Matheson Bay.

This bay turned out to be quite the spot of paradise so we had our lunch
and the fisherman went to try his luck again while I explored the length of the beach and collected a great selection of small shells, some which are shown here.

Sea urchin, Kina (Maori) (Evechinus chloroticus)
Lampshell or Witches toe nail, Papa Kura Iti (Maori), (Calloria inconspicua)
Jingle shell (Monia zelandica)
Bittersweet clam (Glycymerididae family)
Morning star or Zigzag clam, Tawera (Maori), (Tawera spissa)
Cardita clam, Tuangi (Maori), (Carditidae familiy)
Ribbed Slipper Limpet shell (Maoricrypta costata)
Fan scallop (Talochlamys gemmulata)
Circular Slipper Limpet shell (Sigapatella novaezelandiae)
Dog cockle, Kua kua (Maori), (Glycymerididae family)

A short video here shows the spot: