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Kayak tour into the Wairau Lagoon

Picton, South Island, New Zealand

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4 hours
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Starts From
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Adult(s) x (Age 16 To 99)
Youth(s) x (Age 8 To 15)
At least one participants should be selected.

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Your guided kayak tour begins with a short lesson on basic paddling and an assisted launch from the river edge. There will be time for a practice paddle before you are on your way.

Enjoy the freedom of kayaking down the slow Opawa river viewing wildlife such as royal spoonbill, white faced heron and other wading birds. Where the Opawa River joins the larger Wairau River you will make landing at the sand island which is a popular bird roost for terns and oyster catchers. Here you will have a short break, a drink and homemade muffin and hear about the stories of this fascinating area from your kayak guide.

Next we will head into the Wairau Lagoon, an expansive shallow waterway. We paddle under the cormorant colony tree which is a great chance to photograph these beautiful birds where they nest.

We then cross the channel to the boulder bank were we relax and enjoy a homemade picnic outside the historic home of the Perano family, here you guide will tell you the story of Jim Eyles who once lived here and how as a boy discovered the archaeological evidence of New Zealand's first known human settlement.

Return to kayaks for return journey up the Opawa River with panoramic views of the Richmond Ranges and Wither Hills.

We vary our tour departure and finish time to work with the tide and sunrise and sunset times, when you book we will advise you the best time to tour for wildlife and ease of paddling.


  • Inclusions
  • Time for questions before the tour on the history and wildlife of the area plus opportunity to view our wax on linen cartographer’s map.
  • Visit the cormorant colony.
  • The home of Jim Eyles who discovered New Zealand's first village as a young boy.
  • A good chance of seeing the magnificent royal spoonbill and other wading birds.
  • Delicious home baked picnic includes bacon and egg pie, tomato, basil, cheese and ham bap, apple spice cake, oat and date muffins. (Dietary requirements catered for by prior arrangement.)
  • One tree is planted for every tour to offset our carbon footprint. You can visit our eight hectare covenanted wetland.
  • Department of Conservation Concessionaire since 2004.
  • Driftwood is an independently audited tourism provider.
  • Please bring your personal water bottle.
    Sun protection such as sun block and hats.
    Activity clothing such as jackets and thermals.
Additional Info:
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult

Meeting Point

Driftwood Retreat & Eco Tours
Departure Time:
Departure varies with the tide, we will advise the best time after you have booked.
Departure Comments:

Hotel pickups commence prior to this time

Return Details:
The tour ends at the departure point at our address at Dillon's Point Road. If you have chosen the free transfer option we will taken you to your accommodation or another address as long as it is in the Blenheim area.
  • Kayak tour into the Wairau Lagoon


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