Kayak Abel Tasman: all you need to know.

Be prepared to kayak some of the best territory in the country. Answers to frequently asked questions for the best experience of the golden coast.

Where can I hire kayaks?
Hire your kayak before you go into Abel Tasman National Park. There is nowhere to hire kayaks once you are in the Park. At the southern entrance to the Park, kayak hire is at Kaiteriteri or Marahau. At the northern, Golden Bay entrance enquire at Takaka for local rentals.

Do I need a guide?
Abel Tasman National Park is an idyllic sea kayaking region with some of the best weather in the country, but sea conditions can change rapidly. A large tidal range on the coast requires expert local knowledge to get the most out each day and to experience some unique features that cannot be seen on certain tides.

For safety reasons, commercial operators require you to participate in a full safety brief before hiring kayaks for independent trips.

A guide designs each day around your interests and abilities, taking care of your comfort, and providing all necessary training. Whether you are a skilled kayaker, or never kayaked before, expert guides are trained to show you the best of the National Park with your safety as priority.

How hard is sea kayaking?
The Abel Tasman is renowned for its protected coastline but it’s impossible to guarantee the conditions. When sea and weather are calm, sea kayaking is easy and very little skill or strength is required. However, due to the nature of the outdoors we are not always going to get favourable weather. It might be necessary at times to paddle against the wind to the nearest beach.

With a qualified guide, full training is provided and if instructions are followed, kayaking is safe and fun. A guide can call for boat back-up so if kayaking becomes too difficult, you can leave your kayak at a beach and walk or take a boat. Double kayaks are used for stability, enjoyment and the advantage of having two people sharing the paddling effort.

What should I wear?
We enjoy glorious weather, summer and winter. Temperatures can be crisp in the mornings and cool in late afternoon with summer sea breezes. Bring a warm layer of wool or polar fleece to keep you warm when you stop for a break.  A spray jacket and buoyancy vest will keep you warm on most days when paddling. Bring a spare set of clothing and warm layer to be stored in the kayak so you can change into dry gear if necessary. Always bring some shoes you can walk in, in case weather causes you to land on a beach where some walking might be necessary.

NOT RECOMMENDED: Cotton clothing (especially denim) is very heavy and cold if it gets wet, and takes a long time to dry. Thermal, quick-dry fabrics are best eg. Polypropylene, polar fleece, wool.

Is it necessary to wear shoes in the kayak?
Footwear in the kayak is optional. Many people find it more comfortable to wear some foot cover to prevent their heels rubbing against the kayak. Rubber water socks or sport sandals are ideal. Some people just wear thick socks but be aware that any foot gear will get wet.  Always take some light walking shoes that can be stored in a dry bag in case some walking is necessary.

What is Kayak Sailing?
In favouable conditions, your guide will show you how to set up a fly sheet so you can sail in your kayak, instead of paddling. 

Sea Kayak Operators for Abel Tasman National Park:

Motueka base with Kaiteriteri departures:
Wilsons Abel Tasman (guided sea kayaking)
The Sea Kayak Company

Kaiteriteri Based:
Kaiteriteri Kayak 
Abel Tasman Kayaks

Marahau Based:
Abel Tasman Kayaks Freedom Rentals
Marahau Sea Kayaks 
>Kahu Kayaks  

Takaka Based
Golden Bay Kayak



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