For those with kayaking experience, hiring a kayak opens up some of New Zealand’s premier waterways. There are a number of terrific day trips in locations like Queenstown, Wanaka, Kaikoura, and the Bay of Islands. Two of the classic multi-day journeys are Abel Tasman National Park and the nearby Marlborough Sounds. Kayak hire typically includes a paddle, spray skirt, spray jacket, life jacket, and pump. Depending on the location, rental costs are approximately $55–$80 per day with discounts for multiple days. Most shops require a minimum of two paddlers for safety reasons. For more, see our guide to kayaking in New Zealand.


South Island

Kayak Adventures Queenstown (Queenstown)

  • Shop is centrally located in downtown Queenstown on Shotover Street
  • Kayak hire on beautiful Lake Wakatipu from 1–4 hours
  • Access to private beaches and coves reachable only by water

Wanaka Kayaks (Wanaka)

  • Lake Wanaka is the fourth largest lake in New Zealand and surrounded by the Southern Alps
  • Single and double sea kayaks and sit-on-tops
  • Hire available by the hour

Sea Kayak Company (Motueka)

  • Small, eco-friendly company serving Abel Tasman National Park
  • Modern single and double sea kayaks
  • Offers a number of helpful sample itineraries for 1–3 day trips in Abel Tasman

Kahu Kayaks (Marahau)

  • Locally owned and operated company near Abel Tasman National Park
  • Kayak rentals from 1–5 days
  • Guides will paddle out at the beginning of independent rentals for help with safety and technique

Kaikoura Kayaks (Kaikoura)

  • Kaikoura has prime marine life viewing including seals, dolphins, and whales
  • Sea kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks
  • Rentals from 1 hour up to a full day

Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company (Picton)

  • Terrific access to the Marlborough Sounds with 1,500 km of coastline
  • New Zealand’s oldest sea kayaking company
  • Rentals available for a half-day, full-day, or multiple days

New Zealand Kayak School (Murchison)

  • Murchison is known as the "Whitewater Kayak Capital" of New Zealand
  • A wide range of river kayak rentals including rodeo boats, intermediate boats, and creek boats
  • Also offers whitewater courses for all abilities


North Island

Island Kayaks and Bay Beach Hire (Paihia)

  • Located on Paihia’s main beach in the heart of the Bay of Islands
  • Consistently updated fleet of single and double kayaks
  • Rentals include equipment briefing, trip planning, and maps
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