Kiwi Outfitters

I can’t believe I’m going to New Zealand. Not even on my radar two weeks ago, but the wife came home and said she was getting sent there for work. New Zealand is a destination that always fascinated me and one I never thought I’d get to, so the first thing I said was, “I’m coming, too!”

While the wife, who does not paddle, camp, or hike, is working. I’m heading for water. We’ll be based in Wellington, so I looked for paddling venues close to Wellington. I’m thinking of a couple days on the Wanganui or Whanganui River, and a couple days on Marlborough Sound, or is it Prince Marlborough–near Picton on the north end of the south island.

Any Kiwi’s on the board?

Anybody ever use or know of outfitters in those areas?

Thanks for any info.

Leaving in less than 2 weeks, whew-hoo!

~~Chip Walsh

New Zealand Rocks!
You’ll have a good time. I went there last winter for three weeks and had a ball. Unfortunately, I was unable to paddle because of all the flooding and the two typhoons that hit the islands.

I think I still have some of the literature from the local outfitters. (I’m holding on to them because I’m VERY optimistic that I’ll be returning.) I’ll take a look and let you know if I have anything useful.

Have fun.


National Site
Since you didn’t mention a particular place you’d be I’ll just provide you with the URL for the national sea kayaking organization.

Stay safe on the water

KASK book
has a detailed list of outfitters on both North and South Islands. Try their website from previous response. Plenty of places to hire boats which will tend toward beamy and ruddered.

Get on the locals waters where ever and when ever you can on either island.

Do expect cool and/or wet conditions even though is summer below the equator.

The food and wines are worth the trip alone.

Solo paddler
You will find that most seakayak outfitters won’t hire to a solo paddler as it’s the official policy of their peak body so you may find yourself restricted to group tours with novices :frowning: . I’d suggest contacting some outfitters before you go. For lake paddling and whitewater Sunspots in Rotorua are good.

Try the Abel Tasman
National Park on the north end of the south island for a nice sea kayaking adventure.

Rafting and bungy jumping the Shotover River near Queenstown is also a must.

Have fun, it’s a great place! Just don’t drive your rental car down the Crown Range road. ayyyyyy! Drop it off at the rental return and run away if you do.

Difficult to hire solo
I can confirm what Kelvin1 says about hireing to solo paddlers in NZ (as of january 2001).

Take a look at

  • read SKOANZ “Code of practice” 1.17.8

    It was almost impossible for me, traveling alone, to hire a solo kayak, since the outfitters safety(?) policy speaked aginst it. Even though I was then only a beginner (with less than 20 times in seakayaks during 6 earlier months), I didn’t go for the only “legal” option; to paddle a 34 inch wide K2 “barge” on a guided tour. Apart from the equipment not beeing of my liking, I didn’t like the thought of ending up in that K2 “barge” together with a complete novice (as in “first time”).

    Here is a link to one of the K2’s I saw outfitters use for guided tours:

    I only managed to hire a kayak ONCE, for a 3-day 55 miles trip down the Whanganui River (North Island). The kayak I got was an old Perception Spectre without rudder (with the rear hatch missing (!) - had to improvise some sort of “hatch” with plastic bags). Realy too hard tracking for class II rivers. And I didn’t even get a sprayskirt…

    Yea, that outfitter was rather “laidback” about safety (and not a member of SKOANZ), but it was a “now or never” thing.

    I will NEVER forget that trip!(recommended - but with a more suitable kayak WITH sprayskirt and hatches)

    If I go back to NZ (hopefully “when”), I will try to bring with me some sort of documentation of my kayaking abilities, and maybe offer to perform a roll. Maybe I then get to hire solo?

    As a backup plan I would try to buy a used kayak, and sell it when I leave (but then I would have to hire/buy a car as well…).

    Of course the best thing would be to bring one or several other kayakers along with me…

    I agree with awdiwo, Abel Tasman National (Coast) Park - northwest of Nelson - is a good place to go for kayakers.

    I only went there on a one-day ferry trip (NOT kayak), but next time…

    One final link to SKOANZ operators (though you might not manage to hire solo from them):

    Kiwiland is a nice country, but I fear it soon will be TOO crowded with travellers and tourists (like me)…