Kayaking with Family

We’re often asked if kayaking is suitable for families and the simple answer is a resounding YES!

If you’ve got kids who love the outdoors (or who need a gentle nudge to remember just how great the outdoors can be!) a kayaking tour is the perfect activity for your family.

So, what do you need to know about kayaking with family? We’ve put together a list of handy tips and tricks to make sure your family kayaking adventure goes off without a hitch!

Good preparation is key

Like any family activity that involves handling multiple people and personalities, your kayaking experience will benefit from a bit of light prep-work. Talk to your children about your plans if possible and determine how comfortable they’ll be on the water. Address any fears or concerns they might have and show them pictures of some of the amazing sights they’ll see. Building the excitement without piling on the pressure will make sure they arrive rearing to go—and help you to avoid any last-minute changes of plan. Wear light clothing with long sleeves if possible or thermal wear over the cooler months and don’t forget the hats, snacks, water bottle and sunscreen!

Choose the right kayak

On our guided family kayaking tours, you will use double sea kayaks with an adult in the back to control the pace and steering while the children are in the front sitting back and enjoying the ride! We recommend putting the strongest adult with the youngest (or weakest) child, just to be as safe as possible. Children under the age of 6 years are usually the perfect size to sit in the middle hatch of a double kayak meaning 3 people can paddle together. If you have odd numbers, no need to worry, your family can team up a with one of our guides. Interested in taking yourselves on your own adventure? Sit-on-top kayaks are a great option too. They can’t fill up with water, they’re easy to recover if flipped over and you can easily jump off by choice, too! 

Pick the right time and place

When kayaking in Kaikōura, we recommend morning starts for families. This way, you’ll have the best chance of interacting with marine life and getting back to solid ground before the pesky wind picks up. For families, calm water and minimal marine traffic are essential.

Keep it short and sweet

To avoid fatigue, keep the kids engaged and to make sure everyone has an enjoyable experience, we recommend keeping your first session short—around 60 to 90 minutes is about the perfect duration and the allocated time spent on the water taking part in family kayak tours. This gives you plenty of time to nail your paddling technique, explore your surrounds and get back to shore before any tiredness sets in. You can make the next session slightly longer and work your way up from there. Before you know it, you’ll be going on full-day adventures!

Take a camera

What you may or may not need to take with you will depend on whether you’re going on a guided tour or planning your own adventure. But a waterproof camera, a GoPro or phone in a waterproof floating case is essential no matter what your choice! Be ready to capture those incredible photos of seals and dolphins in their natural habitat, the stunning surrounding natural landscapes and your loved ones having the life of their lives on their family kayaking adventure.

Ready to book your Kaikōura family kayaking adventure? Check out the guided tour options on the Kaikōura Kayaks website.

Posted by Matt and Kim Foy on August 20, 2021

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