Frequently Asked Questions
Why paddle with Kaikoura Kayaks?
We use real sea kayaks made for New Zealand conditions and we are Kaikoura’s original Kayak operator established in 1998. Our award winning kayak tours includes enclosed kayaks that are stable, easy to use and fast on the water. The cockpits are fitted with lumbar supports (for your back), closed cell foam seats and foot pegs for comfort.
Will I see Seals?
We guarantee that you will see the New Zealand Fur Seal on our guided tours. Our success rate is 100%.
What else can I see?
While we make no promise, you may be lucky enough to have chance encounters with Dusky or Hector's dolphins. We often see pods of dolphins anywhere between a few and a few hundred. The Kaikoura coastline hosts a huge variety of seabirds including the mighty albatross, petrels and shearwaters. Don’t forget to look out for the little Blue penguins bobbing in the water also.
Can I kayak with Whales?
Whales encounters by kayak are rare with sightings on average 12 time's a year. Species of Whales that have been viewed while kayaking include, Orca, Humpback, Minke and Blue Whales. Autumn and winter is the best time of the year for viewing Humpback Whales as they migrate up the east coast of the South Island. All other Whale species can make an appearance at any time of the year around the Kaikoura Peninsula and usually pass through within a day or two.
What is the duration of a 1/2 day guided Seal Kayaking Tour and how much paddling time do I get?
Our Seal Kayaking tours run for 3 hours from sign up to completion. A 45 minute briefing at the start of your tour covers safety, gearing up and kayak/paddle instruction. 1.5 to 2 hours is then spent paddling around the coastline. The package includes a 15 minute debrief at the end of your tour.
Short on time? Can I do a day trip from Christchurch to Kaikoura?
Yes! Lots of people like this day option when time is limited. Intercity IC8728 departs Christchurch at 7.00am arriving in Kaikoura at 9:40am. Plenty of time do join our 12:30pm guided "Seal Kayaking" tour. We will drop you back at the bus station in time for Intercity IC877 departing 3:50pm arriving into Christchurch at 6.25pm.
What do I need to bring?
You’ll need a water bottle, thermal top/fleece/shorts or light pants, e.g. quick drys (Definitely NO Jeans!) We recommend the use of sunglasses, a cap or fleece hat, running shoes or sandals, a towel and a camera.
What is provided:
We provide a life jacket, spray skirt, paddle jacket, poggies (like gloves), wet shoes, dry bag for your camera, transport to and from paddling area, spare thermals and GORETEX dry pants for winter paddling.
Is there a minimum age?
Yes you must be at least 3 years old! We are family friendly. Take a look at our Family Kayaking page.
Will I get wet?
Maybe slightly. Remember this is a water activity. We ensure that you are well protected from the elements in our self enclosed Sea Kayaks. Spray skirts will keep you warm in the winter and your legs protected from the direct sunlight over the summer months.
Do I need experience?
No! our qualified local guides will teach you everything you’ll need to know to use your kayak. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities.
Will I capsize?
It’s highly unlikely, capsizing is extremely rare. Our kayaks weigh 45(kg) which makes them very stable in the ocean. In the event that you do capsize your guide will assist you back into your kayak very quickly.
What if the weather is bad?
We do our utmost to provide ‘awesome’ weather however New Zealand is famous for ‘four seasons in one day’! Generally if it’s raining we’ll still proceed, but strong winds and sea swells can cause us to cancel. If you are not sure, please ring us 1 hour before your scheduled tour.
Guided Tour or Kayak Hire?
Take the hassle out of trying to spot marine life by yourself, our guides are highly experienced in this area. In fact one guide is officially named the ‘Marine Mammal Magnet'.
We guarantee a 100% success rate for viewing seals and a higher than average chance of encountering dolphins and penguins on a guided tour.
Remember you have a trained professional with you at all times, who can give you immediate guidance and advice on your paddling style while keeping you and your family safe at the same time.
Our guides are camera trained and can capture the moment using your own go-pro, phone or camera.
Do you hire to solo paddlers?
We DO NOT hire to solo paddlers.