To experience kayaking New Zealand's finest coast, book kayak hire and transfers before you go into Abel Tasman National Park. Kayaks for hire are stored outside the park boundaries.
How hard is sea kayaking?
The Abel Tasman is renowned for its protected coastline but it's impossible to guarantee conditions in the marine environment. When sea and weather are calm, sea kayaking is easy and very little skill or strength is required.
Double kayaks are used for stability, enjoyment and the advantage of having two people sharing the paddling effort.
You need to be prepared for variable conditions in the outdoors. Sometimes, you might have to paddle against the wind to the nearest beach. Our qualified Guides are trained to reduce the chance of this, and assist if needed.
Guides provide full training and, if their instructions are followed, kayaking is safe and fun. Our boat crew provides full back-up so if kayaking becomes too difficult through the day you can leave your kayak at a beach and walk or take the boat.
What is included?
All the latest kayak gear:
- Stable double kayak
- Spray jacket
- Buoyancy aid
- Dry bags for spare clothing and camera gear. Bags are waterproof if sealed correctly. We cannot guarantee your sensitive electronic equipment against splash damage.
- Maximum 8 people per Guide
What should I wear?
We enjoy glorious weather, summer and winter. Temperatures can be crisp in the mornings and cool in late afternoon with summer sea breezes.
- Bring a warm layer of wool or polar fleece to keep you warm when you stop for a break.
- The spray jacket and buoyancy vest we provide will keep you warm on most days when paddling.
- Bring a spare set of clothing and warm layer to be stored in the kayak so you can change into dry gear if necessary.
- Always bring walking shoes in case you need to land on a beach where some walking might be necessary.
NOT RECOMMENDED: Cotton clothing (especially denim) is very heavy and cold if it gets wet, and takes a long time to dry. Thermal, quick-dry fabrics are best eg. Polypropylene, polar fleece, wool.
Is it necessary to wear shoes in the kayak?
Footwear in the kayak is optional. It will get wet. Rubber water socks or sport sandals are ideal. Some people wear only thick socks.
Always take some light walking shoes that can be stored in a dry bag in case some walking is necessary.
Is there an age age limit?
No maximum age limit. If you're keen, we will take you kayaking!
Minimum age is set by kayak safety regulations for guided groups
- Minimum age 8 years for sheltered water short trip Kaiteriteri Highlights
- Min age 10 years for Split Apple Paddle coastal kayaking
- Min age 12 years for longer day trips and multiday trips.
The minimum age can be lowered for privately guided groups. The final decision on minimum age will be at the discretion of the Guide after assessment of the child's abilities.
Independent vs Guided Sea Kayaking
To ensure your safety and make sure you get the most out of your visit to our spectacular coast, we only rent kayaks accompanied by our highly skilled guides.
Abel Tasman National Park is an idyllic sea kayaking region with some of the best weather in the country, but sea conditions can change rapidly. Tidal conditions along the coast require expert local knowledge to get the most out each day and to experience some unique features that cannot be seen on certain tides.
If you're a skilled kayaker, or never kayaked before, our professional Guides know how to show you the best of the National Park.
Why Kayak with our team at Wilsons Abel Tasman?
- We are proudly the first of only 3 operators to hold a Tonga Island Marine Mammal Watching Permit from New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC).
- Enjoy modern, technical kayak gear with our regular upgrade policy. Double kayaks are used for stability, enjoyment and the advantage of having two people sharing the paddling effort.
- Get closer to our amazing marine life without disrupting their natural habitiat.
- All our guides are fully qualified and must pass our own internal assessment to ensure they operate to strict local and national safety guidelines.
- Fun, friendly and authentic Kiwi hospitality: the Wilson family has been welcoming visitors to the region since 1841.
- Operating year-round
- Range of Services: combine sea kayaking with walking and boat cruising. Groups of different ages and abilities can choose different options and meet up on the Vista Cruise or at our Lodges along the way.
- We operate the only beachfront lodges within the boundaries of Abel Tasman National Park.