Hamish McMaster, a whitewater professional for more than 30 years, explains why if you are a kayaker, these destinations should be on your ‘bucket list’.
Want to know how long you can stop and surf at a wave on the Zambezi? Or how many times we will fly into the river on our Paddlers Paradise trip in New Zealand? We love nothing more than sharing our passion for rivers with kayakers. We realise as a paddler, you have different ‘needs’ than rafting clients — so here’s a list of our (and our guests) favourite trips and why you should put them on your list for your next paddling vacation.
Nowhere in New Zealand are you further than 70 kilometres from the sea (43.5 miles), so with many of the trips you’ll be collected by helicopter near the sea and transported up into the heart of the Southern Alps to paddle back down to our waiting vehicle. This is paddling for all levels, at its best.
Unfortunately the river is on the endangered list, with a dam being started in the next few years. The river is runnable in two distinct seasons. April, where you will experience mostly Grade III rapids and in early October, post monsoon, where the river is a very committing Grade IV+ adventure. Expect huge beaches and wonderful cultural interactions.
The only time when the rivers are viable is in Spring, from March until May when there is snowmelt and generally good conditions for paddling. There are other rivers to paddle, but a multiday kayaking holiday down the Ahansel provides the most reliable conditions we have found from paddling there for over 20 years.
The river offers nonstop fun for any Grade IV In addition to the fabulous river you’ll be paddling, the trip also includes a few days off the coast of New Island exploring the azure ocean by sea kayak. Stop on remote beaches and explore the many stunning coral reefs in the area by snorkel.
Now, it’s down to you to decide. Where will your paddling vacation be this year?
by Hamish McMaster
Hamish McMaster is the Water By Nature owner. He has spent the past 25 years exploring and playing on the world's great rivers. He still loves nothing more than getting out there and sharing adventures.
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