Questions re visitng NZ to paddle

We are Class 3-4 boaters from the east coast of the US. We will be in NZ for the month of March. We are trying to arrange the logistics for renting boats and paddling while we're there. We're flying into Auckland and starting on the North Island and then heading south. We're having trouble getting a handle on some things. Any advice greatly appreciated!

1. Getting boats to the river. How do we solve the roof rack problem for a rental car? Would we be much better off with AWD or 4WD than your average rental Corolla? If we get a campervan will we be able to get to put-ins and take-outs? Can one modify the ski racks provided by the rental agencies to carry boats?

2.Is it possible or sensible to rent boats for the month vs.finding places near each river to rent for a day or two? We haven't targeted rivers yet, but we are probably going to stick to Grade 2-3 at least until we get acclimated and find people to paddle with.

3. We've got the guidebook, but can't find any info on water temperatures. What might we expect on the North Island in March? On the South Island? Is NZ an all drytop all the time place? What about for sea kayaking?

4. What's the best way to find people to paddle and run shuttle with during March? We are Old School river-runners, not rodeo boaters. Are there club trips we might be able to join?

5. Is the Whanganui River Journey worthwhile for WW boaters or would we be bored? Or is it worthwhile for beauty, cool experience, etc.?

6. What would you consider must-do rivers/creeks for people who may never have the good fortune to be able to visit NZ again? Grade 4 and under.

Thanks so much for any info. you can provide. Hope to see you on the river in a couple of months.

Lisa and Robert

ben25's picture

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ben25's picture

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mountaingoat's picture

Hay it's Tim Bartholomew here are you Ben Isbister? (wolfie) and are you talking about Shay Gill?

chris22's picture

hey, im currently in mangaweka for a little while, not too sure how long though. thiking of going down to the south island sometime before i go back to england (flight back is 20th april) so if you go paddling sometime mind if i joined you? i dont actually have a car (cant drive) or a boat yet (i may try and get hold of one) so i would need to hitch a lift, and possably borrorw a boat.

david3's picture

Hi if you need to get in touch ring
03 5224341.
I live 80 km north of Murchison near Tapawera. Feel free to pop in and stay if you need a place.

kayakshop's picture

Hi, Sunspots kayak shop Rotorua North Is. Near the Kaituna.
We have long and short term hire rates depending on how long you want the kayaks for.
We rent a large range of kayaks and gear incl. roof racks to fit most models of cars, incl. some good old school style kayaks.
We offer free change of kayaks as often as you want for the duration of the hire so if you want sea kayaks or touring boats to do runs like the Whanganui you can take an apropriate boat for the trip.
there are a lot of great runs 2-3 of 1-4 day duration around that are worth the effort we can advise on all the local runs.

chris22's picture

hi there, im also over in nz around april time (visiting from england) ive got a placement at a whitewater center from 20ish feb-april 5ish,coaching on grade 2 white water. (i need to log 40 hours before i can undertake my lvl 3 coach assesment in england, if hat makes sense to any of you) after that though im looking to paddle some higher grade water (3-4 then maby progress to 5 if i find the right people to paddle with) any one free to help out a limey around april time?

david1's picture

Some answers.
You could probarbly fit 2 small boats in stationwagon or people mover.
Water is usually warm compared with winter. I use a dry top all the time but it can get hot.
In South island boats can be hired from Kayak school while in Murchison if paddling the Buller and associated rivers.
Try this website to find people to paddle with or use links to canoe clubs.
Try the off the water forum too.
Only paddle up to 3+. Depends on what you want scenery or other. Probably need to talk to someone who paddles more or look at links and photos.
For North Island try
I live 1 hours drive North of Murchison, your welcome to stay if you need a place.
May be available to help with paddle on Buller or others if I have time.

Good luck.