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If you are in Golden Bay and have a morning to spare, definitely check out a half-day guided kayak trip with Golden Bay Kayaks, just one in the range of options that they have to offer.
Their catchphrase says it all: “Escape the crowds and explore the Abel Tasman National Park”. As you are probably aware, there are a number of different operators that offer kayaking in the Abel Tasman, but Golden Bay Kayaks are the only ones that operate actually in Golden Bay.
Meeting with the guides on the picturesque sands of Tata Beach in the morning you will also get to meet your fellow kayakers, learn all about kayak and water safety, and be ready to push off before 9am.
No previous kayaking experience is necessary, which is great because I hadn’t kayaked for years when I went for this trip.
Paired up with someone in a double kayak is great too, because when one of you wants to get the camera out and take a few snaps, the other can keep on paddling. Or when your arms get a bit tired…
We headed straight out for the Tata Islands, which we slowly circled as the guide informed us about the local Shag population and other noteworthy details. The water was calm and glinting wildly in the summer sun.
The paddling wasn’t as hard on my muscles as I’d thought it would be, but we had quite a way to go yet.
Heading out around the headland separating Tata Beach from Wainui Bay we saw seals playing around the coastline and got to take turns kayaking through a narrow tunnel formed by the surrounding rocks.
Keeping close to the shore we made our way down into Wainui Bay, the clear waters making visible all the wildlife amongst the rocks. Further on it is just sand beneath, as we headed across the bay toward Taupo Point.
Depending on the group and the time, you may make it all the way across but on my trip we went just over halfway across the bay. You could always see the sand just a few feet beneath you, so I felt very safe out in the water.
Mind you, we then were amazed to see two separate stingrays, disturbed by our paddles and flicking sand around them as they took off.
On the way back to Tata Beach we all stopped at a tiny beach accessible only by water. Tea, coffee and snacks were provided and we enjoyed them in the late morning sun.
No matter what time of year you go, take your sunscreen – that sun can certainly be fierce. We were back to the shores of Tata Beach by lunchtime.
I really enjoyed this trip – as someone who doesn’t normally go kayaking it was surprisingly achievable and they also do family tours – so your children can experience the fun of being out on the water, and you know you are in excellent hands.
Make the most of it – bring a camera because it truly is a beautiful area to explore and you there are plenty of photo opportunities. Golden Bay Kayaks also offer independent hire, multi-day rentals and an overnight return trip to Taupo Point.
I definitely recommend having a guide though, I learnt so much about the area and wildlife that made it far more interesting than just a paddle in the spectacular waters of Golden Bay.