Kayaking New Zealand's Untouched Coastline & Waterways

Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore New Zealand’s most beautiful, hard-to-reach places. Here, untouched coastline and stunning waterways await you.

Kayak with dolphins in the Bay of Islands or Abel Tasman National Park, paddle through a marine reserve and jump in to snorkel, or enjoy the thrill of white water on the wild West Coast. New Zealand offers kayaking adventures for all levels,  from absolute beginner to white water thrill seeker.

At First Light Travel, we’re kiwis who love exploring New Zealand as well – we specialise in tailoring vacations to your exact needs. Below are a few ideas for quintessential Kiwi kayaking adventures that allow you to explore some of the most beautiful and untouched parts of the country. 

Bay of Islands

In northern New Zealand lies the Bay of Islands, a coastal paradise dotted with islands, coves, beaches and inland waterfalls. The abundance of marine life here means that you’re likely to come across a dolphin or two while you’re paddling – a very special and moving experience. The water in the Bay of Islands is subtropical and warm, and inland rivers and estuaries add variety to the kayaking experience. Here, you can choose to combine kayaking, walking and sailing for a multi-day adventure, or explore the inshore islands for an afternoon. 

Whanganui River Canoeing Safari

New Zealand’s longest navigable waterway, the Whanganui River, is steeped in history and heritage and offers an unforgettable paddling adventure. Kayak through wildly beautiful forest; see if you can hear the distinctive song of native birds and relax by the fire at night, listening to local Maori myths and legends. This 4 to 5 day river journey takes you far from civilisation; in place of it you’ll find untouched nature, fascinating stories and a sense of childlike wonder.


One of the best ways to truly appreciate the grandeur of Fiordland’s Milford Sound is to explore by kayak. Here, vertical granite cliffs rise from inky blue water, snow-capped mountains scrape the sky and towering waterfalls cascade downwards. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attractions. Imagine paddling a kayak as you marvel at towering waterfalls and spot pods of dusky dolphins close to you. Nearby Dusky Sound also offers spectacular kayaking adventures, ranging from a few hours to a few days.

At First Light Travel, we’re experts on New Zealand travel and we would love to help you experience the country by kayak. We offer everything from an afternoon guided kayak tour to multi-day paddling odysseys.

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