Kayak Hire Papatowai - The Catlins - Half Day


Discover a little slice of untouched paradise as you kayak down the hidden waterways of Papatowai...


  • Explore the sandy coastal bays surrounded by lush Podocarp forest
  • Experience scenic reserves only accessible by the water
  • Soak up the peace and serenity of the Tahakopa and Maclennen Rivers
  • Spot the native birds and local wildlife
  • Local river knowledge, maps and a full safety briefing provided
  • Glide through the water on our Phoenix kayaks, designed and built in NZ

Take our comfortable Kayaks out for a self guided tour of the breathtaking Papatowai estuary, Tahakopa Bay, Tahakopa & MacLennan rivers.

With over 25km's of estuary and rivers to explore, there is plenty to discover!

You will be well supported with paddling instruction, maps and a full safety briefing along with local river knowledge to make sure you get the most out of the experience.

Meet at our kayak shed in Papatowai for the safety briefing before heading out on the water for your adventure! From here the choice is yours, explore the sandy coastal bays surrounded by lush Podocarp forest or head upstream on the peaceful rivers. Either way you will surely spot an abundance of native birds and local wildlife, so remember to bring that camera!

We offer two New Zealand made kayaks to choose from, the "Fortress Double" and "Phantom Single". These kayaks are very comfortable and incredibly stable, you will be gliding through the water with ease! Perfect for those looking for a relaxing morning or afternoon out on the water, this region is set to surprise even the most seasoned of explorers!

Catlins Kayak Hire is a DOC approved business. To find out more check out this link: Department of Conservation approved label.

Location: Papatowai, The Catlins. The stunning Catlins area is located approx 90km east of Invercargill and 160km south of Dunedin.

Double Kayak $69.00
Single Kayak $55.00

What's included

  • Buoyancy life vests
  • Dry bags
  • Estuary & river map
  • Full safety briefing & paddling tips
  • Over 25kms of estuary and river to paddle and explore


  • Allow approximately 4 hours for the whole experience


  • No children under the age of 3, all kayakers must be able to sit up unaided.

    If you are hiring one of our Kayaks you MUST be able to swim.

    Paddlers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

    For safety reasons we do not allow solo paddlers.

Child Friendly

  • This experience welcomes families with children.


  • Please Note: For safety reason there is a minimum of 2 persons required for trip to proceed. Single bookings will be waitlisted to be confirmed by tour operator directly.
  • We keep a really close eye on the weather and will make contact in the event of unexpected conditions. If the weather conditions are unsafe for kayaking, we will re-book you on another hire option or time to suit.

Authenticated Reviews & PhotosAll of our reviews are from people who have booked and paid for this activity thru Bookme


9 reviews

Showing all 9 authenticated Bookme reviews

Lenka from New Zealand wrote on 19 January 2020

Beautiful place

It’s shame we didn’t have enough time to really plan the kayaking on some sunny day, it would have been absolutely awesome! Unfortunately was raining but we did enjoy it anyways! Thank you sooo much!

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luciiik from New Zealand wrote on 05 January 2020

Awesome experience

We really enjoyed kayaking in Papatowai. Despite the fact that this was our second kayaking experience in our life, Mick really made us feel comfortable and safe. The trip on the water was well explained and thanks to Mick we enjoyed every moment of it. Thank you for a great time. We really recommend this activity.

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Bridget Hales from United Kingdom wrote on 13 November 2019

Great day paddling the estuaries

The kit was good and Mick explained the various rivers and the wildlife we might see. We saw paradise duck with 12 ducklings, a kingfisher and other birds. Mick also gave us lots of help and ideas for our trip in NZ.

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Harry Skelding from United Kingdom wrote on 01 May 2019


We thoroughly enjoyed a morning out on a double kayak! The weather was perfect for it, very calm and peaceful area to do it in. The kayaks and life jackets were both close to brand new and very well looked after. The couple that run the business were very friendly and helpful. Highly recommend

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Paul from Netherlands wrote on 13 March 2019

Really great experience

Very calming experience in the morning. Really nice. Lovely host as well!

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10:00 a.m.Thursday 13 July

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