At last count there were over a million different kayak options on the Abel Tasman! There are so many options and factors to consider that it's enough to give you a headache, and that's true even if you know the Abel Tasman coastline well.
Then the timing of the tides on the day you plan your trip, as well as the time of year and prevailing winds add additional complexity. However, it doesn't have to be a complex or difficult decision if you break it down based on the time available and the type of experience you're looking for. All the options are good, and you really can't go too far wrong. But here are some decisions to consider to optimize your time in the park.
How much time would you like to spend in the park?
Fleeting visit (few hours)
If you only have a few hours, a short paddle out from Marahau or Kaiteriteri will limit your options.
Starting from Kaiteriteri, you can catch a glimpse of the Abel Tasman in the distance as you paddle north like Ian Ferguson did at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, when he won three gold medals.
The best option for a short kayak is to start in Marahau, where you can head south to seeOctubre (Split Apple Rock)or north of Astrolabe Roadstead, the stretch of water between the mainland and the two islands of Fisherman and Adele.
Half a day to play (4 hours or so)
If you have a half day, this opens up your options for a half day freedom rental and even a guided tour.
Seekajaks de Marahau (MSK)they have mentioned a half day rental optionSouth coast. As the name suggests, this option gives you plenty of time to explore the south coast of Abel Tasman. It takes most people a little over an hour to reach the first Astrolabe beaches from Marahau, which means you have a few hours to explore before you have to paddle back.
MSK has three options for half-day guided tours. TOnoon blastincludes a paddle from Marahau to Observation Beach, or vice versa, and a water taxi ride the other way. If you want a good night's sleep then thisafternoon paletteStarts at 10:30 a.m. m. or at 12:00 p.m. m. You'll begin the trip with a water taxi ride to Bark Bay in the heart of the park, from where you'll paddle back south to Anchorage. From there, hop on a water taxi to return in time for happy hour at Hooked on the Marahau Waterfront. There is even a half day option for the northern part of the park.Der Marine Reserve Expresstakes you right into the heart of the park on a water taxi, allowing you to paddle through the marine reserve between Onetahuti and Bark Bay.
Park Day Trip (Full Day)
A full-day excursion offers another mountain of possibilities, as you can now choose to kayak for a full day, with or without a guide, or a combination of hiking and kayaking.
The most popular combination of hiking and kayaking excursion is the classicfreedom anchor. You'll paddle south from Marahau to Anchorage, the park's first large campground and cabin. You leave your kayak at Anchorage Beach and it is picked up by a water taxi. You have the option of camping in Anchorage for the night, hiking north on the Abel Tasman Coastal Path, or walking the 8 miles back to Marahau.
The most popular choice for freedom walks and guided kayaks are MSKs.Plato Gourmet (GP). It sounds a bit complex, so you might want to focus for a moment while we explain it. The GP begins with a water taxi ride from Marahau to Torrent Bay, from where you walk a couple of hours to Bark Bay. This is a nice section of the trail with nice elevated views of Torrent Bay and more secluded bays like Frenchman along the way. It also takes you across the recently updated Falls River Swingbridge, which offers fantastic views down the river and across the bush to the open sea. After lunch at Bark Bay Beach, you'll be picked up by an AquaTaxi that will take you south back to Observation Beach, where you'll meet your kayak guide. After some safety briefing and paddling, paddle over to Adele Island to explore the New Zealand fur seal colony and incredible birdsong at this predator-free bird sanctuary. The day ends with a paddle back to Marahau.
The most popular full day is thereserva marina magica. After a water taxi ride, paddlers depart from Onetahuti on this guided kayak tour before heading down to Anchorage later in the day. If the wind gods are with you, the last leg to Anchorage will be completed by kayak. The option of freedom throughout the day,liberty islands, includes a comprehensive safety briefing in Marahau before setting off at your own pace to explore the astrolabe.
In it for a long trip (also known as a multi-day trip)
For the purists, a multi-day paddle along the coast from Marahau to Totaranui with camping en route is quintessential.Like Abel TasmanExperience.
If you are going to do this trip in the summer, we generally recommend starting from Totaranui, as the prevailing northerly winds will carry you back to Marahau.
There's nothing like paddling along the coast at a leisurely pace during the day, exploring tidal coves and stopping at any beach to relax on the way to your next campsite. When you arrive at this campsite, pull your kayak past high tide and pitch your tent or claim your bunk at the cabin. The next day you do it all over again!
Another decision you have to make is whether you want to go on a guided tour or what we kayakers call a "freedom rental" or kayak rental.
As Kiwis, we don't often think we need a guide in our home country, which is why most locals opt to go out in their kayak without a guide. If you rent a Freedom you will need a paddle partner as none of the kayak companies will rent a single kayak to a single paddler. This is a security issue. When an inexperienced kayaker is out on the water and things get rough, those are the people who get into trouble. Single kayaks are not as stable on the water as double kayaks and two people can help each other out in an emergency. Guided kayak options are more expensive than freedom rentals, but people get a lot more out of these trips as the guides share their knowledge of local history and ecology along the way. It's also reassuring to have an experienced guide with you with a UHF radio and a good understanding of the local topography and travel conditions.
Whether you're on a guided or free trip, and even if the conditions aren't ideal, kayaking on Abel Tasman is a wonderful experience.
Blog Posted in Abel Tasman Magazine - Summer 2021 Issue
Brendan Alborn's Blog
owner and operator
Brendan has a long association with Abel Tasman and first visited him when his parents moved to Marahau in 1997. After Brendan spent much of his life abroad, Brendan and his family moved to the area in late 2010. When Brendan isn't spending his time outdoors, he seems to spend a lot of time trying to come up with even fancier justifications for spending more time outdoors.
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Best Abel Tasman Kayak Options | Kayak Tours and Rentals? ›What is the discount code for Abel Tasman kayaks? ›
Kayaking & Cruises - PROMO CODE: GOPLAY10%How long does it take to kayak Abel Tasman? ›
Abel Tasman is New Zealand's smallest national park, to kayak the entire length takes around 11-13 hours paddle time in a sea kayak. With the many bays, estuaries and beaches to explore a minimum of 2 nights and 3 days is what you should spend, of course the journey deserves as much time as you can give it.How do I plan a multi day kayak trip? ›
- Nail Down Your Paddling Itinerary. ...
- Make a Plan for Put-In, Take-Out, and Shuttles. ...
- Research Permits and Regulations. ...
- Bring the Right Camping Gear. ...
- Know How You'll Pack Your Gear. ...
- Practice Packing and Rigging Your Boats at Home.
As the name suggests you head into Anchorage Bay. Starting off in Marahau. You'll paddle all the way up to Anchorage bay, leave your kayak there and catch a water taxi back to Marahau. The trip takes roughly 3 hours but can be shorter if you're hussing it up the park.How do I get a good deal on a kayak? ›
With kayak shortages, it makes sense to put price aside and shop early to find a kayak that's safe, comfortable and meets your performance needs. On the other hand, shopping later in the season (specifically in late August and September) once rewarded patient shoppers the best chance of scoring a good deal.Are kayaks worth the money? ›
With leisure costs averaging $12 per hour, you're getting $864 in value out of your $4,000 kayak investment each year. That's a yield of 20 percent— an impressive rate of return! Keep this up for five years— 360 hours of paddling—and your kayak will more than pay for itself.Has anyone crossed the Tasman Sea in a kayak? ›
Thirty years after the first person rowed solo across the Tasman Sea in 1977, Crossing the Ditch was the effort of Justin Jones and James Castrission, known as Cas and Jonesy to become the first to cross the sea and travel from Australia to New Zealand by sea kayak.How far can I kayak in a day? ›
In 24 hours, a male professional kayak peddler can travel up to 160 miles in a day on flat water. Pro female kayakers can paddle up to 125 miles. Only a handful of kayak paddlers can accomplish these long distances. Still, it's worth noting the absolute limits of how far humans are capable of paddling in a day.How long should you kayak for the first time? ›
Trip Length: For your first-time kayaking, plan a trip that is less than three hours. You don't want to exhaust yourself or bite off more than you're ready for. Three hours gives you enough to get a feel for kayaking and decide if you like it. Wind/Water Conditions: If it's really windy, you might opt for another day.
Is it better to do single or tandem kayak? ›
Consider Your Skill Level
Beginners often prefer to start out in a tandem kayak because this allows a guide to teach them the basics of paddling. Tandem kayaks also tend to go slower, and it allows one person to take a short break if they get tired while paddling.
KayakLog is free to download on both iOS and Android devices and was developed by experienced kayakers. It can be a great app for tracking your paddling trips, as it can let you log your route as you paddle. As well as mapping your route it can also record wind speed, temperature and your paddling speed.What do you wear to kayak in Alaska? ›
Even when kayaking in Alaska, you absolutely want to wear sunglasses, a hat, and a layer of sunscreen. Protecting your face from the rays of sun that reflect off the water will help keep you from getting a bad sunburn. What not to pack: Cotton. Avoid wearing cotton.How long is the Weeki Wachee kayaking? ›
Make sure you are at the take-out before your shuttle bus departs, or you'll get hit with a hefty transportation fee on top of the usual rental fee. It takes about 3 hours to paddle the run. Plan for 4 if you take your time.What are the 3 Golden Rules of recreational kayaking? ›
The three golden rules are a set of rules that, when followed, will let you paddle the most efficiently and help keep you safe on the water: You need to use the power of torso rotation for all your strokes. You need to choose an appropriate paddling location. You need to have a plan in case you capsize.Do you tip kayak tour guides? ›
It is an industry standard to tip your guide if you feel they did a good job providing an enjoyable and informative trip. There are many schools of thought on how much to tip, but a common estimate is between 10% and 20% of the trip cost, like waitstaff in a restaurant.What time of year is best for kayaking? ›
During winter, the temperatures are moderate, the waters are calm and severe weather is uncommon. Most kayak trips are usually scheduled during the winter because the good weather offers excellent paddling conditions and coincides with peaks in the number of wildlife.What are disadvantages of kayaking? ›
Some injuries associated with canoeing and kayaking include: Shoulder – the muscular force required to push the paddle through the water can cause an injury, such as a strain or sprain. Wrist – the repetitive motion of moving the paddle can, over time, lead to overuse injuries of the wrist joints.What is better than a kayak? ›
Paddle boarding offers more freedom of movement and fun with the versatility to enjoy your SUP for other activities such as surfing or SUP Yoga - let's see you downward dog in a kayak...How much should I spend on a kayak? ›
Recreational kayaks: $100 to $1,200; day touring kayaks $1,000 to $2,000; and sea kayaks $2,000 to $5,000.
How rough is the Tasman Sea? ›
The Tasman Sea is one of the roughest waterbodies on Earth
Wind and wave conditions on the Tasman Sea are rough for most parts of the year. Regular atmospheric depressions pass over the Sea from West to East below the 40°S latitude.
Around 5500 great white sharks are lurking in the waters between New Zealand and Australia, new research has revealed.How far can you paddle a sea kayak in one day? ›
On average, a reasonably experienced kayaker paddling a mid-sized solo boat can be expected to comfortably paddle between 10-20 miles a day.What is the 120 rule for kayaking? ›
Many kayak anglers follow the 120 rule. This rule states (in Fahrenheit) that the air temperature plus water temperature should be greater than or equal to 120. With the caveat that water temperatures should be at or greater than 60 F.How long does a 10 mile kayak trip take? ›
A 10 mile kayak adventure will require about 5 hours to complete. But that's not the entire picture. On any kayak trip over an hour, you're not going to maintain a steady pace of 2 to 2.5 knots for 5 hours straight!Can you be too big to kayak? ›
Again, despite the trepidation of some, kayaking can be enjoyed by people of all shapes and sizes. Even if you're overweight or taller than average, kayaking can be enjoyable.When should you not kayak? ›
Avoid kayaking in bad weather or challenging water conditions unless you have the skills and experience to do it safely. Don't head out alone; it's generally best to paddle in groups of at least three people. Watch your hydration levels, and be sure to drink plenty of water.What shoes to wear kayaking? ›
A water bootie or water shoe is the ideal choice for kayaking. They will stay on your feet, keep out the rocks, and your feet will stay warm while kayaking. Water sandals with proper straps are also a good option, such as Tevas, Chacos, or Crocs, though you might have chilly feet if the weather is cool.Is it hard to flip a sit in kayak? ›
Many recreational kayaks will have a flat hull, which will give it more stability, making it unlikely that it will tip over. A sit-inside's design means you have more control over the stability because you're able to stabilize it using your knees against the sides of the hull. This means it's difficult to topple over.Why are tandem kayaks called divorce boats? ›
There's another name for tandem canoes: Divorce boats. They call them that because tandem paddling can quickly destroy a relationship. Especially among novice paddlers. The tricky part about tandem paddling is determining who's in charge of steering and who to blame when you plow into a rock or capsize.
Which is more stable sit in or sit on kayak? ›
If all other dimensions are equal, a sit-inside (open-cockpit) kayak is more stable than a sit-on-top kayak. In an open-cockpit kayak you're sitting lower in the boat. Your center of gravity (aka rear-end) is at or near the level of the water.Which kayak is better sit-on-top or sit in? ›
There's no question that sit-in kayaks perform better than sit-on-tops. There are several reasons for this: Your center of gravity is lower, which allows the kayak to be narrower and still maintain stability. A narrower kayak moves through the water more efficiently than the wider sit-on-top.How do you carry your phone while kayaking? ›
If you use a waterproof phone case, also buy a lanyard and some marine rope. This will allow you to attach the phone to your life jacket so it doesn't sink to the fathomless depths of the river wild. Dry Bag: The next thing you'll want is a dry bag.How can I map my kayak route? ›
- MapMyFitness App.
- Endomondo Sports Tracker.
- Relive App.
- Routie App.
- Sports Tracker.
A kayak can sink if it flips over in open water. If your kayak flips over and a significant amount of water enters the hull, there's a chance it will sink. What is this? Capsizing is a bigger issue for sit-in kayaks because they have an open hull at the cockpit where water can pour in.How likely is it to flip a kayak? ›
Kayaks are generally safe to use and hardly tip over. Nevertheless, the risk of tipping depends on the sort of kayak and the type of water where you are paddling. For example, it's extremely hard to tip over when paddling with a recreational kayak on a relatively calm river — unless you really try too hard.Why are kayaks sold out everywhere? ›
COVID-19 rocked the paddling industry back on its heels. The businesses most integral to the sport—shops and outfitters and small manufacturers—also tend to be the most vulnerable to short-term economic shock. Local retailers don't just sell boats and paddles and life jackets.What is the best 2 1 kayak? ›
- Aquaglide. Blackfoot Angler 160. Leave a rating / review. ...
- Sea Eagle. Explorer 380x. Leave a rating / review. ...
- NuCanoe. Frontier 12. ...
- Brooklyn Kayak Company. BKC TK122 Angler Tandem Coastal Cruiser Kayak. ...
- Sevylor. Colorado. ...
- Hobie. Mirage Fiesta. ...
- Pyranha. Fusion Duo. ...
- Intex. Challenger 2.
Kayak rentals, lessons and tours are available from Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak. If you have your own Kayak and gear then you're well on your way as long as you can find a parking spot nearby. The public parking lots fill up fast so ensure you get there early in the day to ensure a spot.Can you bring your own kayak to Channel Islands? ›
You can either pay Island Packers to bring a kayak on the boat with you and go self guided, or you can go with Santa Barbara Adventure Company.
Do kayaks get stolen? ›
Kayak, paddleboard and canoe theft is a far-too-common problem. Most people don't realize it's one of the fastest-growing crimes at campgrounds and parks. Take these simple steps to reduce the likelihood of your kayak, SUP or canoe being stolen, and to help you identify it if that ever does happen.Do kayaks flip over? ›
There's many ways your kayak can flip, but the most common ones are big waves, strong currents and excessive weight. Although kayaks are designed for maximum stability, accidents happen and knowing what to do can help you avoid an unpleasant experience.What length kayak is most stable? ›
A 10 or 11 foot kayak will generally be built for stability over speed and can still be easy to maneuver and ideal for beginners. You may find that at this length there are yaks that are built for specific activities, such as fishing, and are equipped with features such as rod holders.Can I kayak to Penguin Island? ›
With just a short 15 minute paddle to both Penguin Island and Seal Island, kayaking is the best way to get up close and personal with the wildlife in Rockingham. Penguin Island and Seal Island are huge tourist attractions in the Rockingham area.How far in to the ocean can you kayak? ›
#2 Seagoing vessel. This applies if you have a rigid kayak or inflatable kayak with at least 2 separate air chambers that is more than 3.50 meters long and is certified as "seaworthy" by the manufacturer. You can then paddle up to 2 nautical miles (approx. 3 km) from shore.What do you wear kayaking on Channel Islands? ›
- Mandatory Gear/Equipment: Paddle. Kayak (doubles and singles) Helmet. Personal flotation device (PFD)
- Optional Gear: Paddle jacket. Wetsuit. Water clogs. Dry bags (for necessary medications or medical devices)
While most guide companies in the area only provide tours, there are a few that do offer kayak rentals and packages (including wet or drysuits, spray skirts, etc.) if you'd prefer to do some self-guided Apostle Islands kayaking.