Sea Kayaking, Lyttelton Harbour & Quail Island Tour

Explore secret bays, sunken ships & sea caves around Lyttelton Harbour & Quail Island on this small-group sea kayaking tour.
Christchurch, New Zealand
8 hrs
Start & End Time
Start & End Time
9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Max Group Size
Max Group Size
Pick-Up & Drop-Off
Pick-Up & Drop-Off
Start & End Location
Start & End Location
What's Included

  • Get up to $20 cash back per person when you book with us
  • A full-day small-group kayaking adventure around Lyttleton Harbour
  • Visit Quail Island, explore sea caves, & paddle through a ship graveyard
  • A picnic lunch served while sitting on one of Quail Island's pristine beaches, plus morning & afternoon tea
  • Use of all kayaking gear, including life jackets
  • The services of a passionate & friendly guide, to teach you basic kayaking skills & showcase the history of the harbour
  • Convenient return transfers from selected Christchurch CBD accommodation or a central meeting place (Canterbury Museum, Princess Margarate Hospital or Lyttleton Port)
What to Expect

Volcanic activity 45 million years ago formed the Banks Peninsula, and the two most significant eruptions formed Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbours. As a result, Lyttleton Harbour has become one of the most spectacular and dynamic harbours in New Zealand. Starting and finishing in Christchurch, this 1-day sea kayaking tour explores this amazing region.


Morning – Lyttelton Harbour


Starting in Christchurch city centre, it's a 30-45 min drive to Cass or Charteris Bay. The group stops briefly at the top of the Port Hills at Dyres Pass summit (340 metres) for a photo opportunity overlooking Christchurch and Lyttelton Harbour from the lookout before continuing the journey to Lyttelton Harbour, where you'll launch the sea kayaks.


Arriving at the beach, unload the boats before getting changed into your kayaking gear and lifejackets. Once you are changed and ready to go, your guide will teach you some basic paddle strokes and emergency procedures before leaving the beach.


As you begin sea kayaking away from the beach, your guide will teach you how to steer your boat and paddle efficiently. Then, heading out towards the Island, there are plenty of bays, sea cliffs, and wildlife to discover. Quail Island, the largest of the three islands in the harbour, is rich in local history. The Island was farmed, used as a leper colony, and for Antarctic expedition training.


These days the island is a recreational reserve and is slowly being replanted with native trees. If the tides allow, you'll paddle past a ship's graveyard and explore the far side of the island, including the sea caves at the far end.


Afternoon – Explore Quail Island


Stopping at one of the many small beaches, it's time for your picnic lunch. After lunch, you can decide how to spend the remainder of the afternoon. You will have the opportunity to explore the island, relax by the beach or continue exploring the harbour with your guide. At the end of the day, you'll head back to the starting point, pack away the sea kayaks, grab a bite to eat, and head back towards Christchurch.


Arriving back in Christchurch, you'll be dropped back at your accommodation or into the city centre.


Where we Visit:

  • Port Hills at Dyres Pass summit
  • Lyttelton Harbour
  • Quail Island
Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, morning tea, lunch & afternoon tea.

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No, prior experience is not necessary.

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Yes, this is a family-friendly trip; however, we recommend family groups book a private guide.

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The maximum group size for this tour is eight people.

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Terms & Conditions:

  • A tour may be cancelled by The Operator because of but not limited to the following reasons: Bad/un-suitable weather conditions, natural disasters, road closures, availability of staff, political or social unrest
  • This sea kayaking itinerary is weather dependent and your guide may alter the plan to match and abilities of the group and the local conditions on the day. In some situations, it may not be possible to visit Quail Island
  • The Operator is not responsible for clients’ travel insurance
  • The Operator is not responsible for clients’ medical insurance
  • The Operator is not responsible for participants’ personal belongings at any time

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellation of a confirmed booking will incur the following fees:

  • Cancellations made more than 14 days in advance will receive a 100% refund less the $50 non-refundable booking fee
  • Cancellations made between 7-14 days prior to the scheduled tour date will receive an 80% refund less the $50 non-refundable booking fee
  • Cancellations made more than 24 hrs in advance but less than 7 days before the scheduled tour date will receive a 50% refund less the $50 non-refundable booking fee
  • Cancellations made with less than 24hrs notice are not provided with a refund

Postponements/transfers are at the discretion of The Operator, subject to availability of places on the requested tour date and the availability of staff.

  • A transfer fee of $50 per participant will be applied.
  • Transfer/postponement schedule:
    • Postponements/transfers made more than 14 days in advance – Available
    • Postponements/transfers made between 7-14 days prior to the scheduled tour date – Available upon request and approval by Adventure By Nature
    • Postponements/transfers made more than 24hrs hrs in advance but less than 7 days before the scheduled tour date – Available by request and approval by The Operator for Day trips only
    • Cancellations made with less than 24hrs notice are not provided with a refund – Unavailable

Pickup Locations
  • Canterbury Musem
  • Governors Bay Hotel (Lyttleton Harbour pick-up)
  • Lyttleton Port (Shore Excursion pick-up)
  • Princess Margaret Hospital (free all day parking)
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