Kayak New Zealand

top of the South Island

March 10 - 18, 2018
Includes superior lodge and hotel accommodation, most meals, kayaks, & guiding.

9 days just $3095

Abel Tasman National Park
and Marlborough Sounds


Sheltered coves and islands offer some the best sea kayaking territory in the world. Abel Tasman National Park is home to New Zealand Fur Seals and a wealth of birdlife, including the Little Blue Penguin. The Marlborough Sounds encompasses 20% of New Zealand’s total coastline. Within the area is pristine native forest 
– ranging from towering 800-year old rimu trees, to lush punga tree ferns and beautiful native orchids. The myriad of bays, coves and inlets are perfect for exploring by kayak.


The Abel Tasman Coast Track winds through sunny forest groves, tranquil fern grottos and along pristine, golden beaches perfect for walking and swimming. 

For the first time, Freedom Outdoors offers you the opportunity to experience these adjacent waterways over 9 unforgettable days, hosted by Tony Carr, who grew up in the South Island and knows the area well.

Highlights Include


  • Accommodation and meals at quality hotels, motels and lodges – no camping.

  • Seals, dolphins and penguins a common sight.

  • Special presentation by Darryl Wilson, CEO of Wilsons Abel Tasman, on the astonishing Maori and European history of the area.

  • Scenic cruise along the length of the spectacular Abel Tasman coastline.

  • Perfect mix of kayaking to islands and beaches and bushwalking on pristine trails.

  • All modern, top quality kayak gear supplied with full instruction and safety briefing.

  • The personal involvement of Tony and local guide Tim Graham who has looked after many of our groups in Fiji and New Zealand.


Every day is different - every day is special.

Saturday March 10

Meals: nil

Fly Sydney to Marlborough Airport via Wellington. Virgin, Emirates, Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar fly the route (3 hours). Connect with a 30-minute Air New Zealand flight to Blenheim (4 daily). Alternatively drive it from Christchurch (5 hours) or take a bus. From Wellington, the famous inter-island ferry through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton runs 5 times daily. New Zealand time is two hours ahead of Sydney. You will require a passport. The Kiwis have their own currency. Major credit cards are accepted. There are ATMs everywhere. You can drive on an Australian licence.  Overnight at the well-appointed Harbour View Motel, in the heart of Picton. As we’ll all be arriving at different times, no group dinner is organised tonight. Enjoy fine New Zealand cuisine at a nearby restaurant.

Sunday March 11

Meals: BLD

Today we start our guided paddle through the Marlborough Sounds. Pack an overnight bag and leave your suitcase at the Harbour View. We’ll be back here Monday. Over the road is Le Café, where we’ll gather for breakfast and our pre-trip briefing. Then all aboard our kayaks for a stunning day on water ranging in colour from the brightest turquoise to the deepest green, with a backdrop of overhanging native tree ferns, rata vines and beech trees. Mid-afternoon we arrive at our accommodation, Lochmara Lodge. Here you’ll enjoy an excellent evening meal and hear about the fascinating work the staff do in wildlife recovery. The lodge is beautiful. Your accommodation here and throughout the trip is ensuite.

Monday March 12

Meals: BL

After a nourishing breakfast, we continue our journey through the Sounds. You’ll visit bays, coves and inlets in this wonderful maze of waterways. Your local guides will share their knowledge of the abundant wildlife and natural flora as you paddle along. Late afternoon you’ll arrive at Picton for a second night at the Harbour View Motel. No group dinner tonight - take a walk to a local restaurant, or have a bite to eat in your room and an early night.

Tuesday march 13

Meals: LD

Your Abel Tasman National Park adventure starts this morning. Be ready for our early morning coach departure from our motel in Picton for Motueka and the Park (2-hour scenic drive). We’ll stop at a local café on the way, stretch our legs and pick up some breakfast. We’ve been bringing Aussie paddlers here since 2012. Basking under the most sunshine hours in the country, this sheltered coast is renowned for great scenery, world class food, wine, beer and art.




Our local partners the Wilson family, has been   welcoming visitors to the region since 1841.   The family operates the only Lodge accommodation right on the  beachfront within the National Park. Their highly skilled guides will entertain you with fascinating insights into the cultural and natural history told through the personal stories of the Wilson family’s ancestors who were among the first British settlers the region.  


We catch the 1pm Vista Cruise departing Kaiteriteri for a fast, safe, comfortable journey along the National Park coastline. Hot & cold drinks, open and enclosed viewing decks and bathroom facilities on board. 2.30pm arrival at Totaranui to walk south approximately 2 ½ hours (5.5 km + tidal crossing) through forests of podocarp and rata and along secluded northern beaches to our overnight ensuite accommodation – the beautiful Meadowbank Homestead at Awaroa, a faithful re-creation of the Wilson family’s original home on the finest site in Awaroa Bay.

Wednesday March 14

Meals: BLD

Today we explore Awaroa and kayak the nearby estuary (3 to 4 hours paddling). This is the largest tidal inlet on the coast. Other options include visiting early European and pre-European historical sites with up to 2 hours walking or you may choose to unwind on the beach and enjoy the comforts of Meadowbank Homestead. Take a “day off” anytime.

Thursday March 15

Meals: BLD

Many highlights as we paddle between Awaroa and Torrent Bay. 4 hours of paddling (17km) or we might decide to shorten the journey by walking sections of the coast track or even catch the Vista Cruise. We depart Awaroa by kayak at 9am, to travel to Tonga Island to view the antics at its resident seal colony, then spend the rest of the day beach hopping south along the coast, taking in points of interest:  Shag harbor, Tonga Quarry, Bark Bay, Falls River, Frenchman’s Bay. Lunch will be at an idyllic bay where we’ll relax, explore, swim or sunbathe on the golden sand. The scenery will astound you – one beautiful beach after another, islands and bushclad hilltops. We may even see some other kayakers! Overnight at Torrent Bay Lodge. This was the Wilson family’s holiday home, now tastefully extended and renovated to include all modern comforts whist keeping its relaxed, beach holiday atmosphere. The garden setting is beautiful.

Friday March 16

Meals: BLD

Lots to do from our picturesque base at Torrent Bay. Kayak in the estuary (tide dependant) or walk to visit the peaceful grotto of Cleopatra's Pool (up to 5

hours, 10kms). Options include walking to the waterfalls on Falls River or to the golden beaches of Anchorage and Te Pukatea, visiting historic Maori sites at Pitt Head. Or simply relax on the golden sands of Torrent Bay. If the wind comes up, you

might get to experience kayak sailing. We tie the kayaks together, erect the sail – and let her rip!

Saturday March 17

Meals: BLD

Our last full day in paradise as we paddle the 12kms from Torrent Bay to Kaiteriteri. As we go we’ll discover pristine bays, beaches and islands named by French explorer, Dumont D’Urville in 1827. Our group will stop for lunch at any one of the bays, then continue. A coach meets us at Kaiteriteri mid-afternoon to return to Motueka and then Nelson at 5.30pm. Nelson is the second oldest city settled in New Zealand. It was proclaimed by royal charter in 1858. Maori settlement started in the 14th century. Nelson was named in honour of the Admiral Horatio Nelson and many roads and public areas around the city are named after his ships and crew. Take a late flight out tomorrow and visit the cathedral, the historic quarter in South Street, four stately homes, picturesque Queens Gardens or the beaches before you go. Rent a bike – it has excellent cycleways. 


We like to end our Freedom Outdoors trips with a flourish, so tonight we are at the gracious Rutherford Hotel in the centre of Nelson. The staff will be waiting to greet us. Time to shower, change and gather at the grand table in the hotel restaurant for our final dinner.  We’ll relive our week together in this wonderful part of the world.

Sunday march 18

Meals: B

Continental breakfast then check-out of the Rutherford mid-morning for your return to Australia or a continuation of your travel in New Zealand. This concludes your Freedom Outdoors holiday.

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Includes superior lodge and hotel accommodation, most meals, kayaks, & guiding. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required to secure your booking. Balance due January 10, 2018.

9 days just $3095

Ask a question about this tour?
Booking and Payment Procedures:

A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required to secure your booking. Balance payable by January 10, 2018 - $2,595. Please pay your deposit online here. We will then email you bank details for the balance. 

If you do not bank electronically, payment may be made at any Westpac branch or by cheque (add $5 for processing). No credit card payments for balance. Limited numbers – allocations strictly in order deposit received.


Cancellations must be advised in writing to Freedom Outdoors – cancellations notified on or after January 10, 50% of total package cost. Cancellations notified on or after February 10, no refund.


… and other things you should know.


Should you decide to voluntarily alter your travel arrangements after the commencement of your trip, Freedom Outdoors is not responsible for any additional costs you may incur. Costs as published are based on the $NZ exchange rate at September 14, 2017. Should the NZ dollar appreciate by more than 5% before departure, a surcharge may be payable. While we are confident demand for this trip will be strong, if fewer than 10 people register, Freedom Outdoors may choose not to proceed. If the trip is cancelled, all monies paid will be refunded, including your deposit.


Australian health insurance is generally not valid in New Zealand. We strongly recommend you take out a personal insurance policy to cover sickness, accident, loss of baggage, trip cancellation due to weather or any other reason and in the unlikely event you need emergency evacuation by plane or helicopter due to illness or accident.


Your personal safety on the water is always our top priority. For that reason, it may be necessary to alter, substitute or abandon planned itineraries without advance warning. If conditions on the water are not suitable for kayaking our local partners may substitute walks. All paddlers must wear PFDs (supplied) while on the water. Trip guides will decide on safety matters, coordinate the group and advise changes. No compensation will be paid should itinerary changes be necessary. Guides will carry a first aid kit and have Senior First Aid Certification, however no doctor will accompany the group. You should ensure you are in sufficiently good health and are of at least average fitness. Guides cannot provide prescription medication. It is your responsibility to bring sufficient quantities of any specific medications you require. Those with particular dietary requirements (eg vegetarian) will be catered for. It’s a good idea to have a check-up prior to departure. Please advise any specific dietary requirements. The planned route involves remote locations and paddling on consecutive days. We strongly recommend you undertake at least three Freedom Outdoors day paddles in the three months leading up to the trip and that you attend one of the company’s Skills Workshops. The fitter you are and the more aware you are of paddling technique, the better you will enjoy the trip.


This trip is not suitable for children under 14 years of age. All participants will be required to sign the standard Freedom Outdoors Risk Waiver document. Inappropriate behaviour may result in you being required to leave the trip without compensation. Neither we nor our partners will not be liable for any injury, damage, loss, accident delay or irregularity which may be occasioned, either by reason of weather, or any defect in a vehicle, vessel or through acts or defaults of any company or persons engaged in conveying passengers in or carrying out tour arrangements. There will be no shopping opportunities once we start paddling so you should bring everything you need. Freedom Outdoors has for sale suitable dry bags, kayaking gloves and kayak shoes, which should be purchased before departure from Sydney. We recommend you bring a camera that is waterproof. Freedom Outdoors is not a travel agency. From the monies transferred by you to us, we pay the companies providing the services in New Zealand and retain an amount to cover the administration of your booking in Sydney.

Freedom Outdoors Kayak Tours

Freedom Outdoors Kayak Tours

  • Kayak tours for all levels

  • Kayak skills workshops

  • Weekend kayak trips around Sydney and NSW waterways

  • Holiday kayak trips in Australia and international destinations including Fiji, New Zealand, Italy, Croatia and Antarctica

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