A Kayaking Day-trip in the Akaroa Harbour

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A double sea kayak is my new toy, and I am absolutely loving it as you can probably tell from the previous blog post. Previously inaccessible areas in Canterbury and further afield are now open to exploration in the 5.6 metre yellow cruiser. With flat conditions forecast throughout Banks Peninsula, we loaded up the kayak bound for launching at Wainui, on the opposite side of the harbour to Wainui-which also has an awesome freedom camping area where you can stay for a maximum of three nights. This however, was only a day trip but for those looking for it can find it on the CamperMate app. We parked up at the Wainui boat ramp and within full view of the cruise ship headed out toward the harbour entrance with a 10 or so knot southerly blowing.

I’ve been snorkelling and fishing over at Wainui before, but have never been around the coast so this was a first. As it turns out there are a few small caves nestled into the cliffs as you paddle. They’re not the type that you would find pirate treasure in yaaarr, but a few good boat lengths at least. We left at low tide, which meant the caves were a little more exposed. If you’re doing this trip be wary of a southerly swell rolling through as this would be the last place I would want to be.

The water was pretty clear and you could see the bottom at around 4-5 metres. Sadly, no treasure to be found.

We carried on and parked up at the next bay which was Mat Wight Bay, a quiet stony beach that was sheltered from the wind. Like a lounge suite that you keep wrapped in plastic, the kayak is currently being treated to some red carpet treatment, notice it resting on our life jackets and a wetsuit to avoid any scratches. It was pretty calm still and low tide had only passed about an hour or so earlier, so I got the snorkel and went looking for some Paua for our tea.

If you’re thinking of going snorkelling for Paua, check out this video for some tips: I tend to go as deep as my breath will allow and don’t like to take more than one from one group. While 10 might be the maximum per person (aside from some areas like Kaikoura where it is 6) you really don’t need to take anymore than what you need. I like making a Paua soup from 6. You might like to download the free NZ Fishing Rules app to find out how many you can take in your region.

On the return trip back, the Southerly swell came in a bit and we were riding some waves, it got a little hairy to be honest and controlling the radar at the back can be a little difficult when you’re being pushed along behind from the wave (rather than from from your paddles). We made it back to Wainui around 5pm and made the journey back to Christchurch in about an hour and a half. A perfect day trip in Canterbury!

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