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Boating and Kayaking
Canoe & Kayak Taranaki. Specialist kayak store Canoe & Kayak Taranaki offers a range of guided trips, lasting from a couple of hours to a couple of days. Two popular options include the Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Park, just offshore of New Plymouth ($NZ70 per person , three hours) and the scenic Mokau River (one day NZ$80 per person minimum four, multiday trips also available). 631 Devon Rd., Waikwakiho, 4312. 06/769–5506. www.canoeandkayak.co.nz/Taranaki.
Happy Chaddy's Charters. A launch with Happy Chaddy's Charters starts with the guide announcing, "Hold on to your knickers, because we're about to take off." Then the old English lifeboat rocks back and forth in its shed (with you on board), slides down its rails, and hits the sea with a spray of water. If your time in town is limited, do try to spare an hour for this trip (NZ$35), during which you'll see seals, get a close-up view of the Nga Motu–Sugar Loaf Islands just offshore from New Plymouth, and be thoroughly entertained by skipper, former fisherman, and definite character Happy Chaddy. You can also hire kayaks here (singles NZ$15 per hour, doubles NZ$30 per hour) and charter a boat for a fishing trip (NZ$80 per person, minimum eight people); these start at 7 am to avoid choppy water. (Paddy usually takes a break in mid-winter.) Ocean View Parade, New Plymouth, 4310. 06/758–9133. www.windwand.co.nz/chaddiescharters.
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