The Ōtākaro/Avon River runs through the Botanic Gardens, through the city centre, past Margaret Mahy Playground, Kerrs Reach and out to the Ihutai estuary. I have always wanted to kayak it, and today is the day!
Katarina Te Maiharoa (KT) is our guide. KT has combined her passion for the outdoors, her love of Christchurch, and her connection to local iwi Waitaha to create Christchurch Sea Kayaking trips.
Christchurch Sea Kayaking offers a range of trips, we were going to do the City to Estuary trip, but the wind prevailed and we did Te Toru Nui – putting in at the Botanic Gardens and through the city and the Red Zone. In hindsight, it was the best choice, and I can see why it is their most popular tour.
$NZ 120pp – this was 3.5-4 hours – although we went with the flow of the river, the wind was at times against us. It was not hard – but we had to work a bit – it was great.
Following a safety introduction from KT, we were in our kayaks and paddling happily through the Botanic Gardens and into downtown Christchurch where giant eels came out to greet us. It was a delight to see the city from the water.
Our stopping point was the Margaret Mahy Playground where we grabbed a coffee and ate the food we had brought. This fueled us nicely for the next leg of our journey.
Every now and again along the trip, KT got us to raft up and shared rich stories of Ranginui and Papatuanuku and how the world was made, to stories of the city, and the earthquakes.
Things to Remember
- The trip includes a ride back to the starting point
- Pack a good lunch and snacks
- take a keep coffee cup for drinks at Margaret Mahy
- No one has fallen out (yet!) so you do not have to worry about getting wet.
- KT can take groups of up to 4 others in two double kayaks and a single
- You have to be over 15yrs for this trip
Follow Christchurch Sea Kayaking on Facebook
Christchurch Sea Kayaking Website
Looking for a shorter trip on The Ōtākaro/Avon River
- Hire a kayak for an hour at Antigua Boatsheds near the hospital – ideal for a quick paddle through Botanic Gardens
- Waka Tours – 45 min paddle for 4-10 people from Margaret Mahy Playground. A rich cultural experience
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