Kayaking adventures for families in New Zealand

Find and book the best kayaking adventures for families in New Zealand, suitable for kids of all ages and offering plenty of family fun and adventure!

As well as offering stunning natural beauty and great paddling, these family-friendly New Zealand kayaking adventures are suitable for families with young children and located close to any facilities you may need.

Which kayaking trip would best suit my family with children over 4?

Pelorus River, Marlborough region, South Island. Pelorus Eco Adventures

You don't want to miss out on kayaking New Zealand’s most beautiful river - kids included. Craggy limestone gorges, lush native forest, and deep green-blue swimming holes provide the backdrop for a stretch of river that Sir Peter Jackson chose as the filming location for the famous dwarf barrel run scene in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

The Hobbit Kayak Tour from Pelorus Eco Adventures lets you paddle down the route taken by Bilbo’s friends in The Hobbit, although – with expert guides who know the river backwards and no prior experience necessary – it’s slightly less dramatic. Suitable for kids 4 and up.


Which kayaking trip best suits my family with children under 16?

Abel Tasman National Park, Tasman region, South Island. Kaiteriteri Kayaks

Long golden beaches, crystal-clear water, hidden bays, and staggering rock formations – Abel Tasman National Park is hard to beat. For families travelling in New Zealand with children under 16, Kaiteriteri Kayaks have special Family Packages with discount rates for families with children aged 8-15. Their tour gets you into some beautiful bays and coves and right up close to Split Apple Rock, Abel Tasman’s most famous (and most photographed) rock formations.

Which kayaking trip would best suit my family with children under 4?

Milford Sound, Fiordland, South Island. Southern Discoveries

In Milford Sound on a clear day, lush green forests and steep volcanic slopes fall from sharp blue skies into dead-still water, and when it’s raining the brilliant waterfalls come to life. That said, we know it’s a difficult place to plan a kayaking trip with toddlers and babies. But Southern Discoveries offer a great Cruise and Kayak day trip which includes entry into the Milford Discovery Centre & Underworld Observatory – always a hit with young kids – as well as an hour of gentle kayaking around Harrison Cove.

Which kayaking trip would best suit my family with adult children?

Lake Taupo, Waikato region, North Island. Canoe & Kayak Taupo Tours

From parachuting and bungee jumping to water skiing and fishing, Taupo is a great base for a kayaking adventure for families with adult children to entertain. One option among many is Canoe & Kayak Taupo Tours, who run an easy, 4-hour guided kayak tour to see Lake Taupo’s iconic Maori rock carvings (which are only accessible from the water) up close. They also offer an adrenaline-pumping 2-hour tour down the rocky pumice gorges of the Waikato River for the more adventurous!

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