Ferg's Kayaks. Instead of taking the ferry to Rangitoto, why not paddle? Ferg's Kayaks, run by four-time Olympic gold medal winner Ian Ferguson, takes guided trips to the island twice daily, leaving at 9:30 am and 5:30 pm. The round-trip takes about seven hours, including two to paddle each way and one to climb the volcano. On the later trip you paddle back in the dark toward the city lights. Booking is essential, and trips are dependent on weather and numbers. 12 Tamaki Dr., Auckland, Auckland, 1071. 09/529–2230; www.fergskayaks.co.nz. From NZ$140.

Ross Adventures. There's more to Waiheke Island than relaxed beaches and wineries. Half, full-day, and overnight kayaking trips take paddlers past coastal cliffs and inlets. Explore caves, beaches, and Māori pā sites, and have coffee and snacks or lunch at a private beach depending on the day's route. Full-day trips include swimming and snorkeling, and you may spot blue penguins or dolphins as you kayak. Matiatia Wharf, Ocean View Rd., Auckland, Auckland, Auckland 1081. 09/372–5550; www.kayakwaiheke.co.nz. From NZ$125.