By the very nature of New Zealand’s position, boating is bound to play an important part in the lifestyle of its inhabitants. Two small islands surrounded by so much water, plus good rainfall and running rivers inland, lends itself to the imagination of a company of boat builders. The Maori, the first inhabitants, were prolific canoe builders, and in fact, came to the islands in just such a form of transport.
Part of the Government’s initiative is to train people for the boating industry. They design and build yachts and boats from small dinghies to ocean going motor and sailing yachts of up to 400′ in length – not the days of sailing glory that were seen in Europe, but a very good direction to encourage all the same. Another branch of training is in supporting activities like buying, selling, servicing and maintaining craft, so taking care of the boating industry in New Zealand is important.
What then is there for the visitor to do today? Well, if you intend a fairly protracted stay, you could build your own sailing dinghy. You can buy proper plans and instructions, and the finished product would cost about a third of what you would pay if you bought it outright. It is about 8′ in length -. called “Firebug”. In a similar vein, one can purchase a rigid inflatable boat for general boating around the shoreline and resell it when you leave.
Then there are steam boat cruises on some of the lakes, in boats built especially for the cruise. Taking this type of cruise helps you to experience a bit of the past. Sailing schools exist which you can attend or there is the option of chartering a luxury sailing yacht for a week at a cost of around $2500.
Jet boating is a popular choice and an experience to talk about. Basically jets of water are sucked up and expelled out at high velocity through valves. The boat is thus propelled forward at great speed and is highly maneuverable, being able to do a 360 degree spin on the spot. Trips are generally where there’s lots of whitewater, and the skipper, a master of his art, will take you close to sheer rock walls or down canyons – all at top speed. Be prepared to get wet, in fact, get soaked. The boat movement is a little like a hovercraft, very speedy but not quite off the water.
Jetski-ing is similar, like a motorcycle ride on water. Boats can be chartered for extended fishing trips – or just day-outs. Remember to follow boat ramp etiquette if you’re at the helm. It’s aimed at launching and retrieving boats so that traffic flows smoothly and unnecessary irritation to other boat owners is at a minimum.
These are some of things that can keep you occupied on the boating scene. Specific companies through whom you can book or order your preferred experience are easy to find through a search on the internet. Remember that even if you do not own your own PC in order to do this, your local library has them available to use for free.