Travel to New Zealand: must-see kayaking spots and top tips for beginners
The Maori rock carvings at Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay are just a few of the reasons to paddle Lake Taupō. Photo/Love Taupo
Torpedo7 kayaking expert Tom Patrick shares his favorite paddling spots, tips for beginners and the most memorable moment on the water.
We are lucky in New Zealand to have so many varied and exciting kayaking sites and for me there are two that stand out. I have been based in Taupō for a few years and fell in love with the beautiful Lake Taupō. Early morning paddles on glassy water with a hint of fog provide unparalleled tranquility. Besides that, there is so much to explore, from the beautiful coastline to the incredible Maori rock carvings.
The Whanganui River is another favorite as it is a complete immersion in nature. There are also some fun grade two rapids to add some excitement. It is a must for all kayaking enthusiasts.
My best advice for kayak beginners is to find someone to go with. It’s more fun with a buddy, it pushes you for more adventure, lets you learn from experienced paddlers, and it’s always safer to paddle in a group. Always let someone know where you are going, where you are going to park, how long you plan to be there, and when you will be back.
Also adjust your setup and get a kayak that suits you and your needs. This includes everything from a paddle of the correct length and width to a quality paddle vest. If you’re good in your gear, that’s one less excuse to keep you from going out.
When it comes to buying a kayak, look for something suitable for your activity of choice, whether it’s river adventures, fishing or cruising. If you want to fish, a kayak with a rudder is ideal to help you stay straight and navigate the swell. If you want to explore at your leisure, get a kayak that’s stable and easy to maneuver with plenty of room to carry all your snacks and refreshments. Everyone’s requirements are different, so it’s worth discussing with the experts.
One of my favorite kayaking moments happened while exploring the outer edges of Queen Charlotte Sound. I was riding a fairly big wave along a point when a group of dark dolphins appeared. They cruised alongside me for nearly half an hour, checking in and playing in the waves alongside me.
For a chance to win a Torpedo7 Kākāpō wool kayak, the world’s first kayak made with wool grown in New Zealand, go to nzherald.co.nz/winfill out the registration form with your details and tell us where would you go for your first Kākāpō adventure.
The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on October 23. Terms and conditions apply.