Tag Archives: kayaking

Abel Tasman Kayaking

Located on the north coast of New Zealand’s South Island is a must explore area called Abel Tasman National Park. It’s named after the Dutch explorer who was the first European to discover New Zealand. We arrived in the late afternoon at our lodge, Split Rock Lodge B&B where the friendly owner, Bert, offered us a couple of beers and showed us around. Two thumbs up for this place already! Great place to kick back and enjoy the view.


The lodge is in a small town named Kaiteriteri. Bert and his wife Paulette are the sweetest people and will help with great recommendations for things to do and places to eat. After a day of hiking or kayaking, you’ll want to come home, open a beer, sit on your balcony and look out at the bay.

We woke up the next morning to an incredible sunrise.

We then headed off to do some sea kayaking with Kahu Kayaks, per Bert’s recommendation. This was probably one of the best, if not the BEST kayaking trip I’ve ever taken! It was low tide when we started with our group so we had to drag our kayaks out a ways, and by we, I mean Drew (well, I did help when it was on sand, but hopped in once we got a few inches of water below the kayak!) There are tractors out on the bay to help pull kayaks in and out during low tide.


Being that it was early morning, the water was calm and looked like silky smooth waves.

This video better illustrates how beautiful it was that day. Couldn’t have asked for calmer waters. Wish I filmed a bit more, but I had to start paddling before we got left behind!

Abel Tasman from lynn dao on Vimeo.



We ended up paddling out to an island since the sea was so calm. Saw a couple of seals (no image since my iphone got fogged up in its waterproof case!)

Drew was so excited about seeing seals that he walked around on his hands the rest of the afternoon.

We found a huge rock formation that looked like a gigantic kiwi!

Seafood around town is always fresh and delish. These mussels reminded us of a good friend of ours who went to harvest mussels one day while the rest of us were in class in college. He filled up two huge black garbage bags only to be swooped upon afterwards by a park ranger who took them both. I’m sure the ranger’s family had a feast that night! Oh well, se la vie.


The next morning, another inspiring sunrise. What a great way to start the day.

Interesting fact: the Maori name of New Zealand is Aotearoa. It means “the land of the long white cloud”. There were so many days where the clouds were just laying low in one long white line. Not big puffy ones, or wispy ones, but one long white cloud low in the sky. So the Maori Aotearoa is the perfect name for this land.

Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks), New Zealand

Three hours north of Fox Glacier is Punakaiki, otherwise known as Pancake Rocks. It’s a gorgeous drive up the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island from the glaciers to Punakaiki.


We arrived at The Rocks Homestay, a beautiful home with incredible views. The Swiss owners (Roli, Eva, & their baby) have 3 bedrooms in this home that they share with guests.




Since we had plenty of daylight left, Drew and I decided to go kayaking first. The water level was really low – sometimes we had to get out and drag our kayaks across rocks. I’m sure winter is a different story here. The neat thing is that it was really easy to spot schools of fish swimming by.


Oooooh…that looks a puma’s head staring him down. Drew – totally unphased by it.




Later that evening, we went out to see the Pancake Rocks where the ocean waves and blowholes have eroded these limestone rocks to form an incredible sight.






On the way out, we saw a couple of wekas, one of New Zealand’s flightless birds. Did you know NZ has the largest number of flightless bird species than any other nation? That’s because there’s no large land predators. So why bother flying when nothing’s going to come eat you? An Aussie we met told us they got stuck with all the deadly creatures (crocs, snakes, venomous spiders) while New Zealand got stuck with sand flies. I don’t know which is worse because by day 7 of scratching my sandfly bites, I’m sure I said “Kill me now!” a few times.