What time does the tour depart?
The tour departs at 10:00am from central Auckland. Central Auckland goes from the Skytower outwards 2kms roughly. We can pick you up from most places in that radius. And drop you back.
Two reasons. Traffic. Yuck! And letting customers have a little sleep in!
How long is the tour?
We say you will be back between 3:30 - 4:00pm, so a solid six hours. It isn't impossible that we are not back on time - it happens. If you are on a cruise ship let us know and we will make the finish time a priority. Otherwise, if people are having fun, so are we. :)
Can I book on the day?
As long as we have space we will take you. Your booking needs to be in before 9:00am.
It sounds like an adventure - do I need to be super-fit?
No, you don't need to be a triathelete. A moderate level of fitness is needed - we take small children, elderly people, and generally all ages. It isn't really a wheelchair friendly tour, due to the locations being very remote. But if you can walk, you will be fine on the Black Sand Adventure. Some of the activities, if they aren't your thing, you can opt out of, and just enjoy the beautiful scenery and relax for a bit.
What do you mean you scale the adventure level to suit the group?
When we have a lot of 20-something backpackery types, activities might include cliff dives, cave swims, epic surf swims, etc. When we have families and kids, activities might include nice waterfall swims, beautiful lakes and river walks, and if we have some of the older age-bracket, activities might include photography at gannet colonies, nice beach walks. We try to fit what our customers want on the day.
OK. So what should I bring?
What will we eat?
We make a pit-stop (15-20 mins) on our way to the locations, at Titirangi. This gives you the opportunity to buy a packed lunch, if you don;t already have one. Or get water / sunscreen / etc.
You have a lot of great reviews. Are they real?
Yes. People have loved our tour, and we love that they loved it. Our aim is 100% satisfied customers, and we hope that never changes.
I heard you can swim the Keyhole at Piha. Do you do this?
Yes. But only in certain conditions. Big surf, large sand-dumps and weird tidal movements are things that can rule it out. It isn't always a good idea. But if it is on the day we take you, we will definately do it.
Do I need to be able to swim?
No, we will adjust the tour to suit you if you can't swim at all. We have a chat about swimming capability before we leave. Many of our customers haven't been able to swim.
I have heard your guides take free photos of us as we are exploring?
Yes. Our guides take typically 200+ photos a day of our groups. We try to get you swimming, climbing, scrambling, in amazing scenery, rather than just posing. We operate a strict no-duckface policy. Duckface is banned on BlackSand tours! Only kidding. Make duckface if you must. If you want to see some of the photos, they are available here: Photos
Why is the sand black?
The Black Sand is very different to beaches in Hawaii or Iceland. It is still Black from iron, but it is a mixture of iron and silicon. It is for some reason the softest and finest sand in the world. It is more like dust, or powder snow... Powder snow that is warmed from the sun! It is the most amazing sand to play in / lie in / roll down / etc.