Ōrākei Basin is a picturesque lagoon located in a volcanic crater just to the east of Remuera. As well as being picturesque, Orakei Basin has a number of advantages for standup paddleboarding.
Free parking off Orakei Road at the Orakei West Reserve.
From the pontoon at the Orakei West Reserve car park. Read the public notice with rules for use of the basin for non-motorised craft. In short, stay to the left hand side of the line of large yellow buoys in the middle of the lagoon.
There are no toilet or shower facilities at Orakei Basin. However there are toilets at Orakei Bay Village.
A short walk up the road or forest track takes you to Orakei Road and Orakei Bay Village
There are none! One less thing to plan for. The Basin is enclosed with sluice gates and is emptied and filled every two weeks with the tides. Check the Auckland Council Orakei Basin Flushing Schedule before you go as every other Sunday/Monday and sometimes into Tuesday, you may find the Basin empty.
As always, little or no wind will mean flat water. In light winds of up to 10 knots this is a great spot to paddle across the lagoon, into Waiatarua Creek and under the Orakei Basin Walkway. Early mornings are when you're most likely to find light winds and flat water.
Northerly wind directions: Some nice shelter from the wind if you plan your route along and close to the boardwalk.
Yes, the conditions can get 'interesting' and even challenging in a lagoon!
Southerly, south westerly wind directions: The wind blows across the Basin from your right to left hand side if you're stood on the pontoon. At around 12 knots or more choppy water forms at the far left side of the lagoon. Given stand up paddlers need to stay in the non-motorised area, this wind direction means a side wind and side chop for paddling across the basin. So bear in mind that it may be difficult to paddle yourself back to the pontoon. It's also useful to know that the car park area is quite protected from this wind direction so you may not feel it until you've taken to the water.
Easterly wind directions: At reasonable wind strength, this has the same effect as the south westerly just described, except that the wind will be creating choppy water right next to the pontoon.
Avoid times when the Basin is being emptied or filled. Apart from shallow water, the currents around the sluice gates are very strong and dangerous.
While we've aimed to point out the key features of this location, our guide is not intended to be exhaustive. Please be mindful of any risks you identify when paddling and if in doubt, be cautious.