Waikato River Kayak Trips


Waikato River

The 425 kilometre Waikato River is the longest in New Zealand. Like its sister the Whanganui it begins its journey in Tongariro National Park in the centre of the North Island but as the Whanganui River veers south to finally enter the Tasman Sea at Wanganui, the Waikato continues to travel northwards through Lake Taupo and eight hydro dams on its way to the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato. The last dam is at Karapiro, south of Hamilton and Cambridge. From here the river is controlled by the outflow of the dam and seasonal flows and is a gentle scenic paddle with no rapids.

Our Overnight Waikato River Trips follow Te Pae o Kaiwaka* (The Passage of the Food Canoes)* and begin just 90 minutes drive south from Auckland City or Airport. They are multiday/nights on the river, with accommodation in tents (or Backpackers at your cost) and duckshooters whares (basic huts).

New for the 2012/2013 season are 5 day 'Dam to the Sea'  freedom trips on the Waikato River from Karapiro Dam to the river mouth and delta at the Tasman Sea, south of Waiuku.

Only 60 minutes south west of Auckland the Waikato River Delta is a maze of low lying islands and slow moving streams. Our Delta trips of full day or part days are designed for those with less time who would like to experience a pleasant kayak trip through the islands of the Waikato River.


We also have overnight options on the Manukau Harbour. This is a 43km trail - the Waimanu Trail * from Waiuku, which can be done seperately or as a 1or 2 day addition to any of the Waikato River Trails *  after overnighting in the Kentish Hotel, Sandspit Motorcamp or Top Nest a kiwi bach on the estuary at Te Toro, with other accommodation available at Clarks Beach Holiday Park (with special kayakers only beach tent sites), the Auckland Regional Park (camping or your campervan) and Big Bay and Orua Bay Motorcamps at the northern part of the trail.


*Checkout www.kayaktrails.co.nz for trail information about these trips


The Kentish Hotel, at the Waiuku end of the portage from the Waikato River to the Manukau Harbour, was opened in 1853 by Edward Constable and holds the oldest continuous “Publicans Special Licence (No 47) for the sale of spirituous liquors” in New Zealand.
Dinner and breakfast are available in house or at a number of nearby restaurants and cafes.