I’ve been living up in Auckland for almost 12 months now and I’m loving the fact there is so many places to investigate by jetski, this is high up the list for a great cruisy Sunday afternoon ride.
It’s twenty to twelve and my partner Liv and myself have just launched our trusty old stead (my Sea-doo RXP-X) at Westhaven Marina. For those from out of Auckland this is pretty much downtown Auckland. We have packed in the front of the ski a rope (well that lives in there anyway), quick change of clothes and my eftpos card. Hightide is at 1:30 so we know we have a bit of time up our sleeves to take in some sights along the way to our lunch destination.
We head out of the harbour and pass under the mighty Auckland Harbour Bridge, along a bit further to our right we pass by the Chelsea Sugar Factory, still standing tall in its lovely orange colour.
From there we headed to the right – around Kauri Point and followed the coast past half a dozen dinky bays. Heading into a bit of a mouth we spot Hobsonville on our left hand side, Hobsonville is known as the former home of the Royal New Zealand Air Force base and more currently known for getting hit by a tornado that did a lot of damage.
Next up we pass under the modern Upper Harbour Motorway bridge and carry on veering to the right with this time passing by Herald Island on our left. From hear we head left (North West) through Kotukutuku Inlet and up to Rangitopuni Creek, don’t worry it’s a little larger than a creek, and at this time of the tide there is plenty of water. At this stage we catch one of the riverboat ferrys so we pull back to a very gentle speed and follow behind for a little while, while cruising along slowly we take in some boats towing wakeboarders pulling off some neat tricks.
From here it’s only a couple of minutes and we spot our destination jetty, the Riverhead Tavern. As we approach we spot 3 smaller boats and a ferry moored and decide because of our even smaller size we can tuck round the back of the jetty out of the way of the larger vessels, as we come round the side we spot we aren’t the only ones with this idea as there is already 3 jetski’s moored up.
Upon arrival we meet Steve the publican, he’s down there to help the ferry that had just arrived and the ferry that is following close behind us. We have a quick chat with the friendly publican and get informed that they will be extending the jetty over the winter months, this doesn’t really effect us on ski’s as there is normally somewhere out of the way for us to park up. We choose to moor our ski up under the stairs keeping it right our of the way and get changed into our clothes from the front of the ski.
The Riverhead Tavern is 153 years old, The Riverhead is thought to be New Zealand’s oldest riverside tavern and holds New Zealand’s second oldest liquor licence. To go with all this history it has recently had a full restoration that makes this an amazing place.
We head up the jetty stairs and and the first thing that gets me is the smell of the amazing BBQ that’s getting cooked. What a surprise, this place is humming! With three bars, a restaurant and the outdoor BBQ that is creating the amazing aroma and further on through the crowd we spot some beanbags on the grass. The bar is busy but there are plenty of friendly staff to help out and get you served as fast as possible.
We quickly beat the ferry passengers to the bar for a nice ice cold Heineken for my self and a little bottle of bubbly for Livr, we sit back in a beanbag and decided this is a magic spot. We assumed this position for a couple of hours taking in the sun, watching little sail powered boats playing in the river and listened to the sounds of the band overflowing from the nearby bar, before returning to our ski, which was still in the same spot and made our short forty minute journey home.
Things to remember
1) You do need to work around the tide, It’s very safe an hour either side of high tide.
2) Stick to the rules including the 5 knot zones and give way to sail boats through the harbour.
3) Try and beat the ferrys there to avoid a bit of a queue at the bar and don’t forget your wallet!
4) Band starts at 2:00pm on most Sundays.
While the suns is out over the next few months I think there is a high chance you will see my ski parked in the same spot under the jetty and if you do spot it there make sure you come up and find me on one of the beanbags and shout me a Heineken for letting you in on the magic spot.
I give the theriverhead.co.nz 10 out of 10!