Explore wetlands wonders by kayak

16:00, Jan 21 2014
Chris Caldwell
GUIDED TOUR: Chris Caldwell of Slippery Creek Kayak Hire takes to the water.

There's an aquatic wonderland in Papakura's backyard and now is the perfect time to check it out.

Auckland Council is offering a subsidised kayak tour of Slippery Creek to celebrate World Wetlands Day on February 2.

Guided tours start in Drury and head 6km downstream toward Hingaia.

Kayakers quickly forget they're still in the big smoke as they glide down the creek looking out for a wide variety of aquatic life. Birdlife including black-backed gulls, red-billed gulls, herons, shags, kingfishers, welcome swallows and harrier hawks have also been spotted.

World Wetlands Day marks the date that the value of wetland sites around the world was formally recognised with the signing of the Wetland Convention in Iran in 1971.

Since then 168 countries have signed up and 2168 wetlands been recognised.

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Wetlands include swamps and marshes, lakes and rivers, wet grasslands, peat bogs, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, coral reefs, as well as man-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.

And they're pretty valuable, with just 10 per cent of New Zealand's pre-European wetlands still existing.

New Zealand has six internationally recognised wetlands: Farewell Spit, the Firth of Thames, Kopuatai Peat Dome, Manawatu Estuary, Awarura Waituna Lagoon and Whangamarino wetland in the northern Waikato.

This year's Wetlands Day will focus on the need for the wetland, agricultural and water sectors to work together and use their resources wisely so wetlands can be sustained.

TOURS

Slippery Creek Kayaks will run two tours on February 2 from 10.30am till 1pm and 1.30pm till 4pm.

The tours cost $25.

Call Auckland Council on 301 0101 and ask for Robynne Vis or Anna Baine to book.

Check out facebook.com/slipperycreek to see photos from the kayaking tour.

Papakura Courier