If you're in a aquatic frame of mind, check out these great on-water excursions.

1. Puhoi River

Kayaking from the historic village of Puhoi all the way to Wenderholm Regional Park is an easy 8km of water, timed so you've always got the incoming and outgoing tides pushing you along, and there are no rapids or waterfalls. Helpful maps and training for beginners before you set off, with pretty native bush, farms and mangroves to admire.

2. Waikato luxury

Take an experienced skipper (even catering and staff if you wish), join the Riverlands Discovery luxury houseboat, a Murray River-type experience running from Tuakau to the serene northern stretches of the Waikato. For the best of both worlds, jump off for a quiet kayak paddle, then head back to the houseboat pampering.

3. Waikato wine

The Waikato River Explorer putters from Mystery Creek to a series of scenic cruise spots along the Waikato River, with wine tastings, events and plenty of good food. Check out the cruises from Hamilton Gardens too.


4. Waikato paddle

Just above Karapiro, with its own cafe, The Boat Shed has a great range of kayaking adventures - up the river to Hamilton or a magical twilight paddle down from Epworth camp to the Pokewhaenua stream into the glow-worm canyon. There are local wines and cheeses by a charming campfire. Other-worldly.


When kayaking, always check weather conditions, tide timetables and marine forecasts, and tell people your plans. Wear a lifejacket, bright/high-vis clothing and take good thermal layers to add if the weather cools.