For someone who doesn’t know how to swim, I really enjoy water activities. So when I booked the trip to New Zealand, I KNEW I wanted to kayak somewhere in this beautiful country. And there are so many wonderful places to choose from.
We narrowed it down to Milford Sound (located on the south west portion of the South Island) and Abel Tasman National Park (located on the North side of the South Island). Abel Tasman ended up fitting our itinerary better but I would LOVE to go back to kayak the Milford Sound one day.
We booked the Classic Marine Reserve tour with Kahu Kayaks for a full day of kayaking. There are all sorts of tours available in Abel Tasman National Park. You can find guided kayaks tours, guided hiking tours, a combination of both, a half guided/half go-at-your-own-pace tours, etc. Almost any combination you can think of.
The Classic Marine Reserve Tour starts with a 8:30am check in at their base. You then hop in a van for a short drive down to the water taxi which will take you up to Onetahuti. The water taxi ride takes about an hour, which is a nice chance for you to just sit back and enjoy the views before beginning your day of kayaking. At Onetahuti, we were provided life vests, kayaks, paddles, and instructed on what to do if your kayak flips over (terrifying thought).
We jumped in our kayaks and made our way to Shag Harbour straining our necks to catch a glimpse of a seal pup. I’ll have to admit, I started feeling tired veery quickly. It was pretty choppy at the beginning of our trip and we had to paddle harder to keep up with our tour guide. We saw a few seal pups peeping out and playing among the rocks.
After that, we made our way south toward Anchorage with plenty of chances to explore some smaller waterways. Lunch was provided and served on the beach. One of the best spots I’ve ever ate lunch. What more can you ask for than a beautiful beach, crystal clear blue water, and a tasty lunch?
Our tour guide (naturally, I forgot his name) was really laid back and fun to talk to. We learned a lot about New Zealand’s history, health care system, and people. This guy, among MANY other things, made me REALLY want to move to New Zealand. One day. One day…
We finished up at Anchorage around 3:30pm and relaxed on the beach for a little while before hopping back on the water taxi. We made it back to base around 4:30pm with plenty of time to left in the day to just relax our tired shoulders.
If you have the opportunity, I would recommend you visit Abel Tasman National Park. Whether you kayak or hike, it’s a really beautiful park.
There is also the famous Coast Track which is one of the New Zealand Department of Conservation’s Great Walks. The entire trail takes 3 to 5 days to hike. Many tour guides include a combination of kayaking and hiking a portion of the Coast Track. You can hike the trail with or without a guide. Another thing to add to my list of things to do when I revisit (or move) to New Zealand!
Kahu Kayaks – Classic Marine Reserve tour
Address: 11 Marahau Valley Road Marahau 7197
GPS Coordinates: -40.997452, 173.002705
Contact: +64 3 527 8300
Cost: $199 NZD per person
Tour duration: approx. 8 hours