New Zealand ...?

does anyone out there have any knowledge/experience seakayaking in New Zealand? I have a chance to (possibly) travel there in the next 6 to 12 months … I see many potential locations for a 3 to 6 day kayak/camping adventure, but these options can be difficult to assess thru the web and travel books. Real experience or contacts might help.

Seems like some options include: Bay of Islands, Marlborough Sound, Abel Tasman NP, Hahei, Fiordlands NP and the Southland region. Many other locations seem possible and given the size of the country certain times of year may favor specific locations.

thanks for any input.


Bay of Islands
My daughter spent 4 months in New Zealand and kayaked at Bay of Islands and a couple of other places. She isn’t home right now but i will ask her about it when she calls.

Bay of Islands
This is a great place to paddle and camp, with lots of neat islands. It has been 10 years since my last visit, but there was a place in Russell (Captain Kaykak, I think) that could hook you up with rentals and suggestions.

On the south island there are kayaking trails around Piction, but i have no personal experience there.

Marlborough Sounds
Definately, try to go and try to kayak when you get there.

My wife got sent there on a biz trip in 2006, and since I always wanted to go, there was no way I was letting her go without me carrying her suitcase! The only downside of that was I was on her schedule, and only in NZ for 9 days, which is not nearly long enough.

My trip was so short that I just kayaked out of Picton. A number of individuals spoke very highly of kayaking at Abel Tasman, but I didn’t want to rent a car or waste time with land transfers, so I just put the boat in the water at Picton.

Here’s a TR link for ya:

One issue I ran into was that none of the outfitters on the north end of the south island (Picton, Nelson, Abel Tas) wanted to rent to an individual paddler. That means if you are travelling by yourself, you need to join a guided trip (not a bad idea), bring along a fellow paddler (again, good idea, first rule of paddling, etc.), or make some other arrangement to get a boat, which is what I ended up doing.

The tourist information offices in NZ are extremely helpful. There is one in Picton near the ferry wharfs. NZ time is close to our time, tomorrow, meaning it is not too hard to call over there (understanding kiwi English is another matter). They get busy, so try to call them within a few minutes of their opening. Get yourself a guidebook–the Footprint version is a pretty good one, and it will list the TI hours and phone numbers, or maybe you can find 'em on the web. They can help you with all sorts of practical information and will make bookings for you as well.

Good luck and don’t forget to share your adventure with us when you get back.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

Sea kayaking in NZ
Don’t know if I am too late and you have already been but I would suggest the Able Tasman National Park. You can spend three nights staying at the same beach camp sites as the hikers. You can paddle up lagoons and small creeks also, see seals… A great time. Hope you enjoy it!

David (Kiwi)