Waikato River, 2 Days on the Te Pae o Kaiwaka Trail

  Waikato Paddling
Duration 2 days, overnight in a duckshooters whare (hut).
Paddling Approx 4 hrs plus breaks per day
Kayaking area Mercer (on SH1) to Hoods Landing, Waiuku
Check in 10.00am at Mercer
9.30am at Rangiriri for Rangiriri Hotel pickup
8.30am at Waiuku for Kentish Hotel pickup
Minimum Age 16yrs to have single kayak
Family groups can be accommodated on separate trips
Prior Experience Not necessary

Lunch / dinner / breakfast / lunch supplied on Guided Trips

Cooking equipment supplied on Freedom Trips, bring your own food.

Minimum Numbers 2 Adults

2012 -2013 Season Price List

Guided Kayak

(includes free return transport from Waiuku Base)

Length of Journey Price Trip
2 Day/Overnight POA Mercer to Hoods Landing

Freedom Kayak

(includes free return transport from Waiuku Base)

Length of Journey Price Trip
2 Day/Overnight $160pp Mercer - Hoods Landing


Your Waikato River Journey begins on Tuoro Island at Mercer (just off SH1) In the early 1900's Tuoro Island was the home of Caesar Roose, the pioneer riverboat man of the Waikato. You drift down the river past the cliffs at the end of Pioneer Road (named after the military gunboat Pioneer one of five armoured paddle steamers from the Land Wars of the 1860's when the river was the main access to the fertile lands of the central Waikato).

As you paddle quietly down the river away from the noise of the motorway it is easy to imagine what early journeys were like with todays stands of native bush while the hills have been cleared for farming.

After lunch you pass under Tuakau Bridge. Soon 18 km of easy paddling is over and your first night is spent on Whatamakiri Island in an old duckshooters' hut. Camping

Next morning after a hearty breakfast you paddle past the Elbow and head into the islands of the Waikato River Delta. The islands are home to many species of duck and shags (cormorants) plus native fantails, kingfishers, pukeko and the Austalasian bittern. These islands hide the dozens of duckshooters' maimais and whitebait stands that are inhabited by many keen locals during the open seasons. You can rest at a maimai for lunch (most owners do not mind visitors).

There are a number of opportunities for photo stops throughout the trip - bring your camera (we can supply waterproof bags).

A short paddle after lunch brings you to Hoods Landing near the old Awaroa Stream that was the portage route to the southern Manukau Harbour and later the town of Waiuku. After two days and 33kms of gentle paddling your journey finishes with a short drive to Waiuku.

For further information on this trip checkout Te Pae o Kaiwaka

Those of you that are continuing on will be transported to SH1 at Bombay to catch your transport to Auckland, Hamilton or Rotorua *Those of you that are staying over will spend the night in Waiuku at the Kentish Hotel.


The Kentish was opened in 1853 by Edward Constable and holds the oldest continuous “Publicans Special Licence (No 47) for the sale of spirituous liquors” in New Zealand.
Dinner and breakfast are available in house or at a number of nearby restaurants and cafes.

StressFree Adventures shuttle to SH1 at Bombay the next morning to meet buses going North, South or to Coromandel leaves at about 8.30am.

Or you may extend your journey by spending one or two days kayaking on the sheltered waters of the Manukau Harbour Bays (see Waimanu Trail)