Akaroa Harbour Kayaking and Snorkelling Day Trip

Akaroa Harbour Wainui Bay Boat Ramp

Launching at Wainui in Akaroa Harbour

We launched on the opposite side of the harbour from Akaroa, at the Wainui boat ramp. As we got ready, we had a great view of a cruise ship headed out toward the harbour entrance.

Wainui also has an awesome freedom camping area where you can stay for a maximum of three nights. We were only on a day trip, but for those looking for the site can find it on the CamperMate app.

Akaroa Harbour kayaking
The water was pretty clear and you could see the bottom at around 4-5 metres. Sadly, no treasure to be found.

Checking out the caves

I’ve been snorkelling and fishing over at Wainui before, but have never been around the coast, so this was a first.

Once we set off and paddled around some corners, we found small caves nestled in the cliffs. They’re not the type that you would find pirate treasure in, but a few good boat lengths at least.

We left at low tide, and the caves were a little more exposed. If you’re doing this trip be wary of a southerly swell rolling through. When that happens, this part of Akaroa Harbour is the last place I would want to be!

Akaroa Harbour cave

Mat Wight Bay

Padding on, we reached Mat Wight Bay, a quiet stony beach that is sheltered from the wind. 

By the way, the double sea kayak in the photos is my new toy, and I am absolutely loving it. Like a lounge suite that you are keeping wrapped in plastic, it’s getting some red carpet treatment.

You may notice it resting on our life jackets and a wetsuit to avoid any scratches!

Snorkelling for Akaroa Harbour Paua

Akaroa Harbour kayaking

Akaroa Harbour was pretty calm still and the low tide had only passed about an hour or so earlier. So, I got the snorkel and went looking for some Paua for our tea.

When snorkelling, I only go as deep as my breath will allow, and I don’t like to take more than one from one group.

While 10 might be the maximum per-person (aside from some areas like Kaikoura, where it is 6) you really don’t need to take any more than what you need. I like making a Paua soup from 6.

Akaroa Harbour paua snorkelling

You might like to download the free NZ Fishing Rules app to find out how many you can take in your region.

Paddling back

On the return trip, the Southerly swell came in a bit and we were riding some quik little waves. It got a little hairy, to be honest! Controlling the rudder at the back can be a little difficult when you’re being pushed along by the wave, rather than by your paddles.

Luckily we managed to surf and paddle back to the boat ramp without any incidents. We made the journey back to Christchurch in about an hour and a half. That’s what we’d call a perfect Akaroa Harbour day trip!

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