The Ultimate Kayaking in New Zealand!
In fourteen days you will experience the best of kayaking in New Zealand from Milford Sound deep in the South Island to the Bay of Islands north of Auckland.
Milford Sound is one of New Zealand's most spectacular sea kayaking destinations! The way to really experience the magnificence of this world famous fiord is at water level from a sea kayak. Paddle beneath towering granite overhangs, waterfalls, the Pembroke Glacier - Stare up at Mitre Peak, glacier scarred rock walls that rise 1200 meters (3937 feet) vertically from the sea and waterfalls that tumble from hanging valleys and crash into the sound far below – don’t get too close! You will be accompanied by Fur seals, the rare Fiordland Crested Penguins and the playful dolphins both Bottlenose & Dusky that frequent the fiord.
Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere's premiere four seasons alpine and lake resort. Nestled in the corner of Lake Wakatipu framed by 360 degree vistas of snowcapped mountains. With year round action-packed thrills, such as jet boating, white water rafting, parapenting and bungy jumping. In winter, Queenstown turns into an alpine playground - skiers and snowboarders come from all over the world to join in the fun. Golfing, Fishing and Wine tasting offer other opportunities in this stunning region.
The magnificent Franz Josef Glacier is widely regarded as the gem of New Zealand's West Coast Glaciers. Together with the Fox Glacier 20 km to the south, it is unique in descending from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres above sea level, amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest. After a short walk through the rainforest, your trip continues along the glacier valley with your guide calling stops to explain the unique features of the Franz Josef Glacier and its surroundings. After strapping on crampons you make your way up the terminal face of the glacier, where pre-formed tracks make exploring the lower reaches of the glacier achievable.
Kayaking is by far the best way to enjoy the flora, fauna and scenic grandeur of New Zealand's largest unmodified coastal wetland. Previous experience is not necessary. Okarito Lagoon covers more than 3240 hectares of shallow open water and is well known for its outstanding avifauna (over 70 species of birds have been recorded here). The lagoon is a common feeding ground for kotuku (white heron) and royal spoonbill, both of which breed in the nearby Waitangiroto Nature Reserve. The lagoon also has a diverse and fascinating flora both in the saltmarsh and other wetland communities of the lagoon, as well as in the adjacent shrublands, forest and sand dunes. Exploring the open water and river channels that lead you deep into the heart of the rainforest is like stepping back in time to pre-European conditions. A clear day offers magnificent views of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps.
The ultimate sea kayaking experience in Abel Tasman National Park. A scenic Aqua Taxi ride north from Marahau to the endless golden sands of Onetahuti where you begin your day. From here journey out into calm blue waters of the sheltered bay and head out to witness the spectacle that is the seal colony of Tonga Island! If you're lucky, you might even spot a Blue Penguin or two! You'll paddle south past the sculptured granite coastline, tidal lagoons and luxuriant native bush. After lunch swap your paddle for walking shoes and enjoy an unguided walk south to Torrent Bay. This section of the track crosses the Falls River swing bridge and the famous fairy glade. You finish your walk at Torrent Bay where you will board the Aqua Taxi and cruise back to Marahau.
This paddling adventure is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the beauty and magic of the Queen Charlotte Sound for a morning or an afternoon. Departing from the Picton foreshore, you paddle through the Picton harbour and along the southern shoreline of the Grove Arm. This picturesque coastline is dominated by native bush and sandy beaches. If time allows, you'll cross the Sound to explore the deep, bush clad bays on the northern side of the Grove Arm, before finishing at Ngakuta Bay where your transport awaits for the return road trip to Picton (15 minutes).
Catch the Cook Strait ferry to New Zealand's windy capital, Wellington and drive north to Tongariro National Park, also a World Heritage Park, in the central North Island.
Day One: Departure time: 7.30 am. At Whakahoro your guide will unload canoes and barrels and show you how to pack your canoes. Guides then give a talk on river and campsite safety, and then instruction on how to paddle canoes. Once the guides are satisfied that everyone can steer their canoe the group sets off on the river. The gorge starts to narrow and we leave the last road access point behind at Whakahoro. Later in the morning you'll pass Mangapapa campsite, Man of War Bluff, Kirikiriroa where the river does a huge horseshoe turn, the Verandah, the Whirlpool and on down to Tamatea's Cave and a possible lunch stop at Ohauora campsite. There is plenty of time for stops along the way and there are many safe places to get out and swim. You'll camp at John Coull Hut and campsite.
Day Two: Breakfast and on the river at 9.00am. A morning paddle past the Tangarakau and Whangamomona rivers, Mangawaiiti campsite, and Otumangu landing - one of the post WW1 faming settlements. A stop is made at Mangapurua campsite for lunch and a walk to the Bridge to Nowhere (45 min each way). After lunch you are met by a Jet boat and it transports the group 31km down the river to Pipiriki. It is then a one hour bus ride back to Ohakune – arriving at around 5.00pm.
Travel from Ohakune to Waiouru and then cross the awesome landscape of the Desert Road to the 605sq km, Lake Taupo. the caldera of a massive volcanic eruption nearly 2000 years ago. You travel inside the volcanic rim to the township of Taupo on the lake's northern shore where we stop for lunch. While here, visit Huka Falls and take a thrilling jetboat ride up the rapids on the Waikato River.
Rotorua is an hours drive north of Taupo so there is time to visit Te Puia, thermal area of boiling pools, boiling mud pools and our famous Pohutu Geyser. Stay for a traditional Maori hangi dinner and a cultural display of Maori song, dance, customs and games.
The Bay of Islands.
This sub-tropical region has the finest maritime park in New Zealand with 144 islands, secluded bays, and an abundance of marine life including marlin, whales, penguins, dolphins, gannets and many other species. Being somewhat sheltered, the area is ideal for yachting, fishing, kayaking and diving. Rolling countryside, tidal estuaries, mangroves, sparkling and long silvery beaches abound. It is an area of considerable historical significance, and is the place where Maori and European signed the Treaty of Waitangi that joined them as one nation. Long considered the cradle of Polynesian and European settlement in New Zealand, the area is rich in history and natural beauty.
DAY 1: 7.30am meet at Beach base and make any final packing requirements. On the water and paddling by 8.00am. From Paihia you have an easy 45 minute paddle to Tapeka point, gateway to the Bay of Islands. We explore the Russell coast and local sea caves before making a further 45 minute paddle across to the beautiful Roberton Island. Here you will stop for lunch and take the time to explore the island, snorkel and swim. The island has significant Maori history and offers a range of recreational activities including a walking track to a historical Pa site, an underwater trail for snorkelers and two stunning lagoons to explore. Roberton Island also boasts a sensational 360 degree view of the Bay. From here you have an hour’s paddle to your home for the night, the gorgeous Urupukapuka Island. After setting up camp you can relax, marvel at your surroundings and enjoy a sumptuous dinner of venison, fish or rack of lamb accompanied by freshly prepared salads and potatoes.
DAY 2: After a great breakfast and good coffee you will pack up camp and make the short paddle to Moturua Island. Here you'll leave your kayaks behind and go ashore to explore the beautiful bays and beaches. You'll then make an easy 4km walk as part of the loop track. One of the most highly rated DOC tracks in New Zealand. See where Captain Cook and Marion Du Fresne spent time, and visit the WW2 observation post. As part of Project Birdsong keep an eye out for the North Island Robin, Fantails, Tui, North Island brown Kiwi, Oystercatcher, Silvereye, and New Zealand Dotteral. This beautiful scenic reserve is dominated by Manuka and Kanuka vegetation which creates an ideal growing environment for young tree ferns and shrubs. You can also see young Pohutukawa trees flourishing along the coastline. At the end of the walk you'll meet with the sailing crew on the beach and enjoy a lunch of sumptuous food and chilled drinks. You are then taken out to board the classic 42’ yacht Vigilant and spend the remainder of the afternoon sailing the sparkling waters of one the most popular boating destinations in the world. Take an active part in the sailing of the vessel or just sit back and relax. Dolphins are resident in the Bay of Islands and may cross our path at any time. Return to the wharf at approximately 5.00pm.
Things to do between Paihia and Auckland before you need to make that flight connection.