New Zealand Kayaking

When you think of New Zealand, you might think of stunning mountains reaching to the sky, green meadows dotted with sheep, glaciers and glacial lakes, and stunning coastline. You might even think about Hobbits. Considered to be the adventure capital of the world, one of the best ways to see the country is on a New Zealand kayaking tour. From the safety of your kayak, you’ll see some of New Zealand’s best landscapes that aren’t available on foot, and you’ll be thankful for it.

One popular destination for a New Zealand kayaking tour is on Lake Taupo, where you’ll get a true sense of isolation and freedom. You’ll paddle across Hinemaiai dam to observe the native bush, as well as pumice cliffs. Keep your eye open for wildlife as well – there’s tons of opportunity for spotting Canada geese, and other local birds. It’s also possible to rent a purpose-built kayak to fish for rainbow trout, brown fish, and more. Your guide can point out ancient Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay, some reaching 100 metres high. For something more low key, a gentle paddle along Waikato River through its pumice gorge is worth a try.

From Queenstown or Glenorchy, take a guided kayaking tour to the conservation reserves of Pig and Pigeon Islands. You’ll see hundreds of bell birds, tui, and flightless birds, and you’ll paddle beneath snow-capped mountain peaks. You can also paddle the still waters of Lake Wakatipu, pairing the experience with a horse ride through Lord of the Rings country, complete with river crossings.

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Kayaking in New Zealand

Justin Hutton

Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand

Adventure, Kayaking

Custom Price

Kayaking - Guided Hot Pools

Kayaking - Guided Hot Pools is a guided kayak trip to the picturesque Manupirua Springs Hot Pools on Lake Rotoiti. Paddle through the Ohau Channel and across Lake Rotoiti going to this spe…


Tim Taylor

Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand

Adventure, Kayaking

$49 USD

Mount Maunganui Kayaking…

Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand...

Adventure, Kayaking


Sam de Reeper

Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand

Adventure, Horseback, Kayaking

NZ$255 NZD

Paddle to Saddle Combo

Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand...

Adventure, Horseback, Kayaking


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New Zealand Kayaking Continued...

Are you a more daredevil kayaker? The Upper Shotover River in Queenstown comes highly recommended. You’ll paddle through one of the most breathtaking canyons in New Zealand, and although the experience is great for all skill levels, more advanced paddlers are encouraged to take on some of the whitewater opportunities. Have a lunch on shore, and soak up the intense beauty of the area.

On the North Island, try some black water rafting through the underground labyrinth of the Ruakuri Cave. You’ll be able to hop out of your kayak to explore limestone caves and small underground waterfalls. You’ll even get to float down an underground river lit up by glowworms on the cave ceiling. For something more extreme, whitewater rafting on the Kaituna River is a must. You’ll paddle down a stunning river gorge until you reach the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall, Tutea Falls. It stands seven metres high (or 21 feet), but you can rest assured that your guide will help you take a gentle dive into the cool pool of water below.  It’s not hard to see why New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world, is it?

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