The Southern Explorer

Operated by: Paddle Wanaka
The Southern Explorer, The Southern Explorer
349.00 (NZD)

This tour starts either at the Wanaka I-site or at your accommodation. Then, your guide will drive you to the lake to begin your paddling adventure. You will have plenty of time to take as many photos as you wish and hear stories about the surroundings of Wanaka. You will return to Wanaka by water taxi and be dropped off at your accommodation.

  • Explore the Mou Waho island.
  • Scenic boat cruise back to Wanaka.
  • 12-14 kms of easy paddling.




7 hours


May Vary


May Vary





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Detailed Description

Your guide will meet you at the Wanaka I-site or right at your accommodation door. From there, it’s a quick drive down to the lake, where you will arrive at the starting point for your epic adventure.

As you arrive you will get your safety gear on, get a kayaking skills lesson, and get on the water. You have a 16 km paddle ahead of you, but there is plenty of time, so you can take lots of photos and enjoy the experience of exploring at lake level.

On the way, your guide will share with you stories about the history, environment, and legends surrounding Wanaka. Of course, there will be a stop for morning tea with light beverages and the famous brownies from Wanaka.

After landing on Mou Waho island, you can give your arms a rest and stretch your legs walking up to the very top of the island. On the way up, you will pass the “lake on the island (Mou Waho), on the lake (Wanaka) on the island (New Zealand)”. You can get amazing photos, and if you are keen, you can go for a dip.

After your walk (or before if you are super hungry!), your guide will whip up a gourmet picnic lunch for you to enjoy on the beach. Food always tastes best when you are outside on an adventure!

By mid-afternoon the water taxi will pick you up. The whole crew, including the boats, will get loaded aboard, and you can relax and reflect as you cruise back to town. Arriving back to the marina, you get a ride back to your pick-up point, where you still have enough time to enjoy a full late afternoon/evening in beautiful Wanaka.

Ticket Price (NZD)
Adults (P/P) 349.00 (NZD)
Children (Under 13 years old) 299.00 (NZD)
2 Adults, 2 Children 1149.00 (NZD)
Tour Map Download

8:00 AM

Daily departure

The Southern Explorer includes:

- Full day of exploring the lake by kayak and water-taxi.
- Gourmet picnic lunch on Mou Waho island.
- Includes drinks and our famous brownie.
- Water-taxi ride from Mou Waho Island to Wanaka.
- Pickup from the Wanaka I-site or your Wanaka accommodation.

- Sunscreen.
- Clothing you don’t mind getting a little wet.
- A water bottle.
- Camera.
- Warm clothing if needed.
- Don’t forget swimwear if you are keen to take a dip.

Customers may cancel or rebook without penalty up to 24 hours prior to trip departure. Cancellations or no-shows after this time will be charged full price.

  1. What do I wear?

    You will want to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting a little wet. You won’t get soaked, but a little bit of splashing is normal. Dress in clothing that is active and appropriate for the weather. You will also want to bring shoes that you can walk in to the top of Mou Waho island.

  2. What should I bring?

    All you’ll need is active clothing, sunscreen and other sun protection, a water bottle, and maybe your camera. We provide all safety gear, plus a splash jacket and spray skirt to keep you as dry as possible.

  3. Do I need to be experienced?

    You do not need to have any kayaking experience, but a reasonable level of fitness is good since you have a full day of kayaking ahead of you!

  4. How long does it take?

    You should allow for 8 hours, which includes a few minutes of driving time, about 4 hours of solid kayaking, lunch and picnic time, about an hour of trail walking, and about a 45 minute powerboat ride. If you have a couple of days to spare you may like our Mac Daddy trip.

  5. Do I need to be able to swim?

    You do not need to be able to swim, but please let your guide know so that they can make sure you are comfortable on the water.

  6. Will I fall in?

    The kayaks we use for our Southern Explorer tours are very stable, so it is unlikely that you will fall in. Your guide will be there to help you learn to use your boat and show you how to manoeuvre it safely, as well as to assist if you have any difficulties.

  7. Will I get wet?

    We will try and keep you as dry as possible but getting a little wet from the splashing of your paddle is normal.

  8. What type of kayak do you use?

    We use a double sea kayak with a simple rudder system called a Mission Eco Niizh. They are very stable and hold a lot of gear.

  9. What weather do you kayak in?

    We go rain or shine! If there’s a lot of wind around making the lake choppy, we know some great sheltered spots where we can still go kayaking!

  10. How far do we kayak?

    Generally, the Southern Explorer goes about 16 km from the town of Wanaka to Mou Waho Island. If we are unable to make it all the way to the island in time, the water-taxi will be there to assist with getting the rest of the way.

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