The Best Kayaking in New Zealand

Looking for the best kayaking in New Zealand? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around New Zealand. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top kayaking spots in and near New Zealand

  • Hahei, New Zealand

    Hike to Cathedral Cove

    4.7
    3.1 mi
    Cathedral Cove is an isolated beach on the Coromandel Peninsula in the small coastal town of Hahei. Being that this is one of the most beautiful places in all of New Zealand, you can expect some crowds. You can take your chances at finding a spot in the small lot, or there is a shuttle option tha...
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  • Ben Lomond, New Zealand

    Camp at Moke Lake

    5.0
    4.3 mi
    The drive to Moke Lake from Queenstown is only 14km but it takes about 30 minutes since you're on a dirt road for a good portion of it. You'll pass Lake Kirkpatrick and lots of sheep on your way to Moke Lake, but keep driving until you get to the campground that's on the southeast end of the lake...
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  • Lake Okareka, New Zealand

    Hike around Lake Tikitapu

    4.5
    3.4 mi / 0 ft gain
    Lake Tikitapu is the smallest of the mountain lakes in the Rotorua area. Take Tarawera Rd about 9 kilometers and you'll run right into it. There is a huge lawn to the right that you can park on if the lot at the shore is full.The beginning of the 5.5 kilometer trail starts on the right hand side ...
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  • Milford Sound, New Zealand

    Kayak to Lady Bowen Falls in Milford Sound

    4.5
    There are multiple options for getting to Milford Sound.  If you have a car and can drive, then just take the Milford Sound Highway from Te Anau, and once you get to the end of the road and see all the big boats, just park your car and get ready for some fun in the water.  If you don't have your ...
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  • Motutere, New Zealand

    Paddle and Camp at Lake Taupō!

    It lacks salt, but Lake Taupō is quickly becoming one of the favorite places to visit on the weekends. An easy 3.5-hour drive south from Auckland, Lake Taupō is Australasia's largest lake and roughly the same size as Singapore. The Romans and Chinese both wrote of seeing an immense fire in the sk...
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  • Marahau, New Zealand

    Kayak Camp Abel Tasman NP

    23 mi / 328 ft gain
    This beautiful national park can be explored by boat and/or by foot, so we decided to incorporate both before catching a jet boat back to Marahau. The entire coastal track is almost 50 km one-way without side trips, and the coastline can also be done entirely by kayak. Before arriving in Marahau,...
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  • Puhoi, New Zealand

    Paddle on the Puhoi River

    This 8km paddle (one way) begins in the quaint Bohemian village of Puhoi (-36.512036, 174.661521) nestled in-between the scenic hills north of Auckland. You'll find ample parking and an excellent launching area at the historic wharves just across from the Puhoi General Store (be sure to return he...
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  • Saint Arnaud, New Zealand

    Hike the St Arnaud Track in Nelson Lakes NP

    3.4 mi / 3668 ft gain
    Park in the Kerr Bay Car Park and take a moment to enjoy views from the iconic Kerr Bay Dock.The well signed track starts just to your left.The lower section of the walk crosses moraine terraces deposited by past glaciers while gaining very little elevation. The track cuts through a lovely beech ...
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  • Kaikoura, New Zealand

    Hike the Kaikoura Peninsula

    5.0
    4.3 mi / 196.9 ft gain
    From the Point Kean carpark head south up the paved walkway until you reach the Clifftop Walk. This trail will take you past East Head and Atia Point before it becomes the South Bay Lookout Walk. When you reach car park at trail's end turn back the way you came and descend the stairs near East He...
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  • Waikawa, New Zealand

    Overnight Kayak the Queen Charlotte Sound

    5.0
    For those who do not have their own kayaks, do not fear, there are different companies in the area that will rent kayaks and safety gear to you. They will also help you with route planning and weather conditions to ensure that you have the best trip possible. I used a company called Sea Kayak Adv...
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  • Rotoroa, New Zealand

    Backpack and Kayak to Blue Lake

    5.0
    31.1 mi / 1430.4 ft gain
    This lake has the clearest visibility fresh water found anywhere in the world with visibility between the 70-80 meter range. And the Colours are beautiful! (We just ask that you do not swim in this lake or do your dish washing in it as it is a super fragile ecosystem, oh and the duck in the pictu...
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  • Milford Sound, New Zealand

    Overnight Cruise the Milford Sound

    5.0
    If you are ever visiting New Zealand's south island, I cannot implore you more to consider doing the overnight cruise of the Milford Sound via Real Journeys. For roughly $300, you board, in Queenstown, a custom designed Real Journeys tour bus that has seats slightly angled towards the windows as ...
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