Kayaking and Canoeing
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| Milford Sound - Classic Beauty
Take in the brooding atmosphere and indescribable scenery of Milford Sound by kayaking its tranquil waters.
This is an unforgettable experience and a great opportunity to encounter Fiordland’s seals, penguins and sometimes dolphins.
Milford Sound is often at its most impressive during sunrise or sunset hours, so guided kayaking tours often leave at this time of day.
Try something a little more adventurous and kayak at night by the light of a full moon.
On a guided kayaking trip, your day in Milford Sound will include 4-5 hours kayaking beneath dramatic sheer cliffs, towering Mitre Peak, spectacular waterfalls and a stop for lunch on a secluded beach.
If you are coming from Te Anau, you get to enjoy New Zealand’s most spectacular alpine road, the Milford Road - a World Heritage highway.
Guided kayaking trips usually run from early October until the end of May. Tours usually depart very early for Milford from Te Anau (at around 6.30am) to get an early start on the Sounds.
There are no age restrictions on 1 day kayaking trips.
Doubtful Sound - Sound of Silence
Doubtful Sound is known as the ’Sound of Silence’ and is practically untouched by man. Kayak along its shores or alongside the base of its soaring cliff faces. Get up close to the abundant wildlife - dolphins, seals and penguins.
Admire the outstanding waterfalls and unspoiled wilderness. A place of dense rainforest, rugged mountains and deep still waters.
Doubtful Sound is a truly magical place to explore by kayak. Massive glacial landscapes and deeply faulted mountainsides surround you as you paddle through its still waters.
Doubtful Sound is a more remote, more challenging kayaking experience than Milford Sound. Unless otherwise experienced, a good option is to go on a guided trip.
A guided trip in Doubtful Sound takes 2 - 5 days and also includes some camping out in Fiordland National Park.
For this option, some paddling experience is preferred but not essential.
Your trip to Doubtful Sound will begin with a cruise over Lake Manapouri, then by road over the Wilmot Pass before dropping into Doubtful Sound.
From here you will be away from civilisation and free to enjoy Doubtful Sound’s scenic splendour.
Guided kayaking trips usually run from November until March. Tours depart and return to Pearl Harbour, Manapouri.
Lake Manapouri - New Zealand’s "loveliest" Lake
Lake Manapouri is dotted with thirty five islands and dozens of secluded bays, and with some 157 km of shoreline it is an ideal lake to explore by kayak.
The lake is deep and clear and edged with sandy beaches which are great for camping.
Drift past sheer cliffs, paddling silently close to the shore to view birds and other wildlife. Or cruise down the slow-moving Waiau River to the Mararoa Weir passing through beech forest along the way.
Venture out on a day trip or consider an extended excursion. There is a range of kayaks for hire, from fully equipped kayaks to more basic models. Canoes and rowboats are also available for hire.
Lake Manapouri connects with the Dusky Track.
You do not need any prior experience to kayak Lake Manapouri and it is ideal for family groups because of the less challenging conditions.
Lake Te Anau
Vastly underrated because of its close proximity to the fiords, the glacial lake of Te Anau is really a very special wilderness kayaking venue.
Carved during the glacial age the lake is clear, with deep water, coves and cliffs, fed by waterfalls, pure mountain streams and cradled by classic Fiordland native bush and mountain scenery.
No previous kayaking experience is necessary.