Pit-stop for paddle-happy kayak queen

JENNA HOUGHTON
Last updated 05:00 01/01/2014
Tara Mulvany
CHARLOTTE CURD/FAIRFAX NZ
SOLO CIRCUMNAVIGATION: Tara Mulvany, 24, stops in Opunake as she kayaks around the North Island this summer.

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Taranaki has proved a hospitable stopover for kayaker Tara Mulvany, who is circumnavigating the North Island this summer.

"People around here have just been awesome. In Patea, a family from Hawera came out at 6am to send me off. It was pouring with rain," Miss Mulvany said.

The 24-year-old has all she needs in her 5-metre sea kayak - a tent, a map, and a vague idea of her journey.

But for the most part she's happy to take each day as it comes.

The solo expedition began in Picton on December 16, and she hopes to finish it in three to four months.

"I'll camp anywhere, any random beach. My life fits in the kayak," she said.

"I'm not really from anywhere, I'm kind of homeless."

After an 11-hour haul from Patea to Opunake on Sunday, Miss Mulvany has found "friends of a friend" to stay with at the coastal campsite while she waits out the rough seas.

Her break was well spent with trips to Cape Egmont and Pukekura Park for the TSB Bank Festival of the Lights display on New Year's Eve.

Although some people may doubt the young woman - including one man who called her "a bloody idiot" from his boat on Cook Strait - she has plenty of experience on the water.

Miss Mulvany paddled around the South Island last winter and recently finished a circumnavigation of Stewart Island.

The kayaker has also been a guide on and off in Fiordland for the past six years, having completed an outdoor recreation course at Aoraki Polytechnic.

Miss Mulvany said her family in Invercargill weren't worried, but she checked in every couple of days to let them know how she was doing. From here her next pit-stop will be Oakura or New Plymouth in a few days.

"It's just a pretty cool way to do an adventure and get away from people," she said, adding the best part is seeing sunsets and sunrises.

Miss Mulvany is blogging her adventure at tarasjourneys.com, and releasing a book of her South Island trip in September next year.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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