Frequently asked questions

It’s important to us that you have all your questions answered about our trips. We have answered some of the most common queries, but not everything, so contact us if you’d like to go into more details about your trip.

Cost & Booking

When ever you are ready it’s easy to book your New Zealand Water Journey you can begin to reserve a spot online through our contact form or give us a call on +64 21 120 3913 (NZL) and we will talk you through it.

You will need to pay a 10% deposit to secure your booking and the balance within 90 days of your chosen departure date. You can pay your deposit via credit card or bank transfer in NZ, US, Australian, Canadian or Euro dollars and British Pounds. You will receive a confirmation email once we receive your deposit.

We strongly recommend that you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy when you book your trip to make sure you are covered for anything unexpected.

You can change your tour date to one of our other departures, for no charge, as long as there is still 90 days before departure date. We will always try and accommodate any trip changes but are sometimes limited to availability because of operational requirements.

Our tours are in small groups and usually booked up over the summer season so we advise to book as soon as possible to save disappointment. New Zealand is a small country with limited air connections so flights and hotels can book out quickly especially in the busy summer peak season. It is normal for our guests to book 9-12 months in advance.

Absolutely, this is our specialty. Please check out the form at the bottom of our Bespoke Journeys page.

There is no forced single supplement. If you are a solo traveller we will team you up with a member of the group to share with for the duration of the trip. We will endeavour to provide you with same sex room, however, limited space in some of our boutique lodgings means we cannot guarantee this. If you would like to guarantee your own room then there is an option to pay a single supplement. Please request a quote.

All our trips include Tax. Goods and Services Tax (GST) is 15%.


We stay at a range of comfortable, interesting and boutique accommodation ranging from lodges, farm cottages, hotels and motels to a couple of remote location nights in tents. The trip is designed to get you out in the wilderness as much as possible and to experience our unique natural environment.

Keep in mind that some remote locations in New Zealand have very limited accommodation options but rest assured you will be awed by the 5 star scenery.

Yes – of course we can.

We can suggest accommodation at all levels whether you want pre/post trip luxury or just standard accommodation.

Fitness & Experience

The Journey is designed to be “adventurous” but has options to suit a wide range of fitness levels and outdoor experience. You need to enjoy and be comfortable on the water. You need be able to swim 25m (75 feet) comfortably. If you keep reasonably active and  enjoy overnighting in the great outdoors then you are likely to enjoy this trip. If you like pushing yourself we can keep you reasonably challenged.

If you are generally active and enjoy physical hobbies like hiking, cycling, tennis, golf or dancing you will have no problems with the activities on tour. If you would like to do a little preparation for your tour we recommend going for regular short walks, kayak paddles and swims. What ever you can fit into your lifestyle will help but don’t over do it and certainly don’t worry about it.  Most of our activities require the whole team or at least one other person to get you through, down, up or across the water.

Our journey is designed to have as much time in the wilderness as possible. Our highly trained and experienced guides will be at your side to safely guide you to and through these amazing places that you would not normally be able to experience.  You do not need to be a pro rafter or kayaker to enjoy our journey. All we ask of you is that you are in reasonable shape, you can swim 25m (75 feet) you are energetic and you have a positive attitude. There are challenges to be had if you feel the need, otherwise just relax and enjoy the journey with us.

Food & Dietary

Delicious! A great deal of care goes into ensuring everyone has a high standard of food and beverages. The wine is as varied as the scenery and the food will fuel your incredible experiences. We will experience a mixture of meals that will be prepared by your guides or accommodation hosts with a sprinkling of our favourite restaurants in the local area we are in. Either way you will be treated like royalty, you are our guests and you will never be expected to help with food prep, cooking or dish washing.  

Typically, we start with a healthy breakfast and delicious coffee served at your accommodation before heading off for the day’s activities. Lunches are either in the best little cafes/ restaurants on route or your guide will pack you a wholesome packed lunch to last you all day for your activities. Dinners will be at one of our favorite local restaurants or your lodgings using fresh and local ingredients with a strong emphasis on introducing you to New Zealand cuisine.

On our Te Wai Pounamu Journey you have a ‘free/personal day’ where we let you take some time to explore and experience the local culture on your own. There are plenty of tasty options in Kaikoura. You will need to make your own arrangements for this day, but your guides are more than happy to suggest and help.

Yes, providing we are advised prior to the commencement of the journey we can cater for dietary requirements. Please ensure you let us know 1 month prior to journey commencing. Please note that options are likely to be limited in the more remote locations. We are un able to guarantee a peanut-nut free or allergen- free trip and therefore strongly encourage travelers with life- threating or severe allergies to take all necessary medical precautions to prepare for possibility of exposure. Travelers must travel with all necessary medication for food allergies.

Transport & Transfer

The South Island of New Zealand isn’t quite small enough to paddle around in 13 days so to incorporate all the highlights we will be travelling by Mercedes Sprinter mini bus driven by one of our guides. We will introduce you to some kiwi tunes as well as providing commentary as we travel down the country.

Our focus is to spend as little time in the vehicle as possible and more time getting amongst our great outdoors! Our largest travel day is between Kaikoura and Mt Cook. This is a six hour van trip broken up with scenic stops and a bird sanctuary. There are multiple days where there is no bus travel at all. We calculate about 40 hours all up during the trip not counting the shuttle on the last day to Queenstown.

Te Wai Pounamu Journey – starts in Nelson, South Island and finishes in Queenstown, South Island

Let us know if you have any questions about your flights, we are happy to help with accommodation before and after the trip.

Once you have booked you will receive all the information for your journey. We will pick you up at a pre-arranged morning time at our joining hotel in Nelson or the airport.

After the trip we will drop you at Queenstown airport or your accommodation in the surrounding district – even though you probably won’t want to leave!

Gear & Equipment

We will provide you with a comprehensive packing list once you book your trip with us. You will need comfortable travel clothes, suitable outdoor wear that can be layered up on cooler days and personal items.

Jandals and togs hopefully…  translation; flip-flops and swimmers or bathing suit.

Wear clothes that have quick drying and thermal properties that you are comfortable in, while you are on the water. New Zealand is a relaxed and casual country, no one will bat an eye lid if you wear the same pair of shorts twice! You won’t need anything ‘dressy’ while you are on your New Zealand Water Journey. You may bring a couple of nice things to put on in the evening, however, smart casual outdoor clothing is a staple in many restaurants around the country.

As a rule, outdoor clothing is expensive in New Zealand. In saying that there is a couple of outdoor clothing companies that provide hard wearing quality products for the New Zealand Outdoors.

We recommend you to pack your luggage in a mid size soft sports bag for easy stowing in the mini van/trailer plus your day pack (recommended size 25L) which can be doubled as an overnight bag. We will provide you with a comprehensive packing list, the items should easily fit into this allowance.


Your guides will either be Alex or Horey (Owner Operators of New Zealand Water Journeys) or one of the handpicked super guides we have met in our careers. Like the journey we have created we are very particular about the guides we want as well. From spotting wildlife to sharing local stories about the land and water, helping adjusting gear and providing a little encouragement while on the water, your guides will be there to help you. The connections you make with your guides will last longer than the journey.

If you have a preference for a bi-lingual guide, we can endeavour to accommodate this in a bespoke trip.

There are two guides on the trip except on the rare occasion when we have four or less clients. We find this works really well with our small groups as two fabulous guides can give you lots of options and flexibility every day. It also keeps us fresh when we have to get behind the wheel from destination to destination.

It’s completely up to you! In New Zealand it’s not compulsory or expected but if you think your guide has met and exceeded your expectations and you would like to tip them, you are more than welcome to, and it is appreciated.


Our fully supported Journeys are designed to make your New Zealand adventure easy and as safe as possible. Your guides will be at your service the entire duration of the trip, during kayaking, rafting and other outdoor activities but also anytime of the day to help in anyway possible. Your guides are trained in first aid and have appropriate safety skills for each activity.

We recommend traveling to New Zealand when the weather is best for making the most of the outdoors. So anytime from late spring through to Autumn. The spring is from September-November, summer months are during December-February and Autumn is March-May.

From Christmas time to the end of February, New Zealand is hectic at the popular tourist destinations and around New Zealand holiday home destinations (the coast). Just because we have the longest amount of daylight hours and the hottest temperatures in the Summer months, does not mean the best weather. A southerly blast from Antarctica can hit at any stage and a heat wave from Australia is just as common and the rain flows freely and sporadically at any time of the year. We tend to live in the moment and be prepared in this land of water.

About the Group

We run small group trips with a maximum of 11 pax plus your 2 guides so 13 people in total. We usually run on groups of 10 or smaller and found this number to be perfect for making sure everyone has the best time.

You will meet like minded people who have an appreciation for nature and the great outdoors, while still being able to enjoy the benefits of comfortable accommodation, delicious food and stimulating conversation on this journey.  Our guests are usually from a wide range of backgrounds, nationalities and experiences. On average we have a 50/50 split of men and women mostly couples as well as a couple of friends travelling together.

If you are worried about your ability contact us for a specialised trip with some of your friends and we can tailor food, accommodation, activities to your ability and price for your budget. We can also endeavour to accommodate guides who are multilingual if you have a preference.

We have a pretty wide range of people and nationalities on our tours, anywhere from 30’s-70’s. In any case its more about attitude than age which is why social dynamics work so well. We also cater to families but recommend our bespoke trip. Get in contact with us if you are interested.


We hardly think of the world without internet luckily there are plenty of places you can check your email and send updates to friends and family. Most accommodations will provide Wifi but it may not be as quick as you are used to and sometimes there will be a small charge for this.

There are some places in New Zealand that do not have internet access or it is very slow so please become accustomed to the idea that you may be out of touch from the rest of the world for some parts of your holiday.

New Zealand uses Vodafone or Spark as their main cell providers. Please contact your phone provider for details on international roaming, access and rates. Please note remote areas do not have cell phone coverage.

General Information

Weather in New Zealand is changeable so we advise to be prepared for all weather conditions and take good note of the recommended gear list. As we travel down the country the temperatures will generally decrease. Most places in New Zealand get 2000 hours of sunshine a year!

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You do not need a visa to travel to New Zealand on vacation for less than 3 months if you are an Australian, UK, US or Canadian or European passport holder. We have an agreement with many other countries. If there is no waiver agreement between our countries then you will have to apply for a visitor visa which allows you 9 months entry into the country.

We can help with all your travel arrangements, from flights, to travel insurance, to accommodation before and after the tour. Please get in contact with us and let us know how we can help.

Yes, we strongly recommend getting a comprehensive policy to make sure you are well covered in case the unexpected happens.

Under ACC most of your medical costs are covered in New Zealand if you have an accident but not for medical conditions. If you are a citizen of New Zealand 80% of your wage is also paid until you can go back to work. For this reason, the ability to sue in New Zealand is extremely difficult.

You don’t need any particular vaccines to visit New Zealand.

Yes, we can assist and help book flights. Please get in contact with us and we will see what we can organise.

Yes, there will be plenty of opportunities to do laundry, so you don’t need to carry around your whole wardrobe!

Electricity in New Zealand is 230 Volts, at 50 hertz. The most common plug is Aust- 3 flat prong. 

Almost anything you like. You can go for a walk or read  your book.

There are a number of activities you can choose to do in Kaikoura, which your guide will help book once you arrive. A guide’s favourite is swimming with dolphins!

Need further information?

If you still have questions or would like to find out more, please get in touch and we will do the best we can to help

New Zealand Water Journeys caters to all experience levels, ages, and ethnicities — speak to one of our friendly management team

NZWJ promotes excellence in outdoor instruction

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