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Hi All!

I am looking to plan a trip to New Zealand in November (a little last minute I know, but my plans have changed). I am a 3-4 paddler and looking to paddle as much as possible. I'll be coming from the US, so I'll be looking to buy/borrow a boat in NZ and bring the rest of my gear with me.

I am trying to determined what the best way is to meet other paddlers (I am looking to paddle frequently and do multiday trips). I've been told this forum is one of the best places other than camping out in Murchison.

I am looking to pick up some work - anything from work at a kayak outfitter, outdoor outfitter, nannying, seasonal work etc... I'd really like to meet other people to paddle with so that's kind of my focus.

Should I plan on buying a van or would I be able to travel with a boat without one?

Any help and advice you have is much appreciated.


usboater's picture

Hey icekayak- I tried emailing you again, but not sure if you got it.

usboater's picture

I've sent you a few. Have you not received them? my email is

icekayak's picture

Hey can you flick me an email at Cheers

usboater's picture

Thanks for the help. Yes I will be flying into Auckland.

icekayak's picture

Best to actually ring blisstick :)

The ellerslie car fair in Auckland always has heaps of vans normally setup ready to go with mattresses etc from the last backpacker who has done exactely the same thing and is now leaving... Otherwise trademe is good but you do need to find a way to physically get to people to look at the vehicles etc.

It all comes down to budget at the end of the day but u should be able to find something to suit all budgets...

Are you flying into Auckland?

Dougie P's picture

Hey Cat, as the other dude said try calling. May have to try them a few times. also (im sure you have) take time deference into account and id say try them around 9/10am.

Our van we pickup through a contact in rotorura, so i dont know too much about that. but from the sounds of it if your after something cheap and for only a few months this auckland car fair seem maybe a good way to go, especially if you know a bet about cars/vans and what to look out for.

Best of luck! And maybe see you on the river!


usboater's picture

Hey Doug-

Do you know of a good way to get a hold of them? I've emailed a couple of times with no response. I'm thinking being in country will be better.

How did you get your van? I've been told trademe and just check around when I get there. Any tips? Is it actually easy to get something decent?


Dougie P's picture

Hi Cat, going to Bliss-Stick is the way to do it, my friend and i did it a few weeks ago, we did five days work (camping in our van at the factory, using their kitchen and driving down to river valley lodge for showers and unintentionally get hammered with the locales) and paid only 650 for my mystic and 750 for my mates tuna(NZ$). would however recommend emailing/calling them ahead of time though, we just rocked up and they already had some helpers there, so we had to go off and come back a week later.
anyway hope this is helpful.

icekayak's picture

Hey flick me an email and we can discuss further if you want...

icekayak's picture

Most commonly people buy a van or station wagon to live out of, pretty quickly drive to the bliss stick factory and go from there.

Not sure what the current arrangement is but it is along the lines of if you work for bliss stick in the factory for a week you can build your own boat for $700. When you leave either bring the boat back home with you, or flick it off and you should get the $700 back easy.

For buying cars look on Trademe or there is the ellerslie car fair in auckland. There is always heaps of backpacker vans already setup with matresses etc.

Depending on where you wanna go, the auckland uni canoe club or waikato canoe club are fairly active in the central/north north island. Then as you go down further south there is other clubs or by the time you have worked at bliss stick and paddled in rotorua and murchison you should know enough people to go from there...

usboater's picture


callum-mcmahon's picture

hey post this on the buy-sell forum aswell. Some guys/girls will hook you up with all the gear. and i think you will get more replies on there aswell.