Hiring a sea kayak with family or friends for a few hours, a day, or many days, is one of the best ways to explore the maritime wonderland that is the Marlborough Sounds. There are over 1500 kilometres of coastline to explore, made up of a multitude of bays, coves and inlets – a fabulous place for exploring by sea kayak.
Trip Departure Time: 9.00am
Trip Return Time: 4.30pm
Duration: from 1 day to many days
Hiring a sea kayak, with family or friends for a few hours, a day, or many days, is one of the best ways to explore the water wonderland that is the Marlborough Sounds. There are over 1500 kilometres of coastline to explore, made up of a multitude of bays, coves and inlets – a fabulous place for exploring by sea kayak.
Wildlife in the Sounds is prolific. At various times of the year there are dolphins (including the rare Hector’s dolphin), seals, whales and in addition to a wide array of birdlife such as gannets, little blue penguins and various native land-based species. Other rare wildlife can include the Little Spotted Kiwi, King shags, saddlebacks, tuatara lizards, and the carniverous snail Polliphanta.
There are magnificent stands of native podocarp forest, and also areas which were originally cleared for agriculture and which are now largely regenerated.
Sea kayaking in the Sounds is an experience that you won’t find anywhere else the world. The large expansive waterways mean that you can really get away from it all, but still enjoy the small luxuries such as water-taxi pick up if required – or you can call into a resort for a cup of coffee or a glass of Marlborough sauvignon blanc.
As New Zealand’s oldest sea kayaking company, our knowledge, expertise, equipment and service are unsurpassed. Get in touch with us to talk through the best options for your timeframe and skill level.
From Picton, there are an infinite number of options for kayak trips in the Sounds. These options range from easy, relaxed cruising to adventures for the experienced expeditioner.
With over 50 Department of Conservation campsites within the Sounds, and over 1500 kilometres of sheltered coastline, there is plenty of space. Paddlers also have the option of using some of the various lodges dotted around the Sounds. We recommend that you don’t plan your itinerary until you have your safety briefing with us. At this time our staff will assess your skills, the weather and suggest the best options for your group.
To give you an idea of some of the options, here are some of the best routes (starting from the easiest and going through to the more challenging):
Sea kayaking, like any water activity, has inherent risks. Kayak rental is available to people with outdoor experience, preferably in water activities. Every group must have an experienced person who is familiar with marine environments, and is able to anticipate and deal with adverse conditions, should they develop. On the morning of departure we will provide a full safety briefing which covers area such as weather, itinerary planning, on-water skills, capsize and re-entry. For inexperienced groups it’s a good idea to hire a guide for part, or all, of your trip – or join our One Day Trip for your first day, and use it as a training day before heading off independently.
The double sea kayaks can take the equivalent of one and a half large backpacks per person. You can normally take fresh food for up to three days and it will remain fresh and edible. Single kayaks take approximately the equivalent of one pack per person.
For safety reasons, we are not able to rent to solo paddlers.
We always recommend that people discuss their itinerary options with their guide during their safety briefing. At that time we can assess the weather forecast, the group’s abilities and, from this, recommend a suitable itinerary to meet your needs. Therefore it is a good idea to not plan your itinerary until the day of arrival.
We strongly urge all our clients to use the Department of Conservation (DOC) campsites as this ensures that we are all protecting our environment. Also, in most cases, the DOC campsites are in the best spots in the Sounds anyway. We sell tickets for DOC campsites at our office.
If you haven’t paddled in the Marlborough Sounds before, we always recommend that you paddle from Picton to the Outer Sounds. This means that you will be feeling more comfortable with the conditions by the time you reach the more exposed waters of the Outer Sounds. It is not a problem to organise water transport for your return to Picton.