South Island water sports

New Zealand’s location as an island in the Pacific Ocean means wherever you are, you’re never far from the water.

Combined with its subtropical climes and relaxed way-of-life, New Zealand is the ideal backdrop for enjoying pursuits in and on the water. The numerous wetlands, lakes and coastal areas dotted in and around the South Island means there are boundless opportunities for visitors and locals alike to enjoy water sports.

Lake Brunner is the largest lake on the West Coast and known as the region’s ‘water playground’. Experience glorious views of the lake and its surrounds while enjoying activities such as kayaking and boating. You may also like to partake in a spot of trout fishing - Lake Brunner and some of the nearby rivers and streams are renowned for having some of the best brown trout fishing in the country.

The seaside village of Akaroa on Banks Peninsula is around one and a half hours drive from Christchurch. Akaroa Harbour is a beautiful spot to delight in activities on the water. Dolphin watching and swimming with the dolphins are popular pastimes – check out Black Cat Cruises for more information. You can also hire a kayak and head out on the harbour to explore in your own time.

Abel Tasman National Park in the Tasman region of the South Island has many bays blessed with golden sand and turquoise waters, as well as lush rainforest. Catch a watertaxi from Marahau or Kaiteriteri to one of the many bays along the coast and spend the day relaxing on the beach or venture onto one of the tracks that hug the coastline. Kayaking is another great option for transport and you get the added satisfaction of knowing you transported yourself on the water.

The glorious Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island comprise islands, sounds and peninsulas spanning over 4,000 kilometres. The Sounds have long been a holiday destination for New Zealand families to relax in and near the water. If you don’t have a boat but fancy getting out on the water and pretending you do, cruise or sail around the Sounds in a hired boat or yacht. Another great way to explore this beautiful area is by diving. If you want to learn the ropes or are an experienced diver, get in touch with Dive Marlborough. There are a number of wrecks worth investigating in the area, including the world famous Mikhail Lermontov wreck.

Kaikoura on the South Island’s East Coast is the marine tourism capital of the country. Endowed with a multitude of marine mammals, here you can encounter sperm whales, fur seals and dolphins, amongst many other species. Check out Whale Watch Kaikoura, they are the only marine based whale watching company in New Zealand offering up close and personal encounters with sperm whales. Kaikoura is also a mecca for divers and surfers keen to make the most of Kaikoura’s rugged coastline.

For more great things to do in Kaikoura visit the Whale Watch website.