Continuing with our dream kayak locations article, where we asked our sitons community for their choices, this time we’re focusing on regions.
Read on to see what paddlers’ choices were…
Top 10 regions
Alaska is the most north western state of America and sits on the boundary of Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Pacific to the west and south, and Russia further west.
Formerly part of Russia, the USA purchased the land in 1867 for $7.2 million, which then went through several administrative changes before becoming an incorporated territory in 1959.
With a longer coastline than all other US states combined, the opportunity for ocean going kayaking exploits is indeed boundless – the only downside being the climate. Mainly determined by the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska, the state has a subarctic oceanic climate in the south west and continental subarctic climate further north. The region actually has a surprisingly moderate average temperature considering how far north it lies.
Offering mainly sea kayaking exploratory paddling, Alaska gives the opportunity for kayakers to experience the wildlife, scenery and amazing coastline that you’ll find here.
As tidal waters carve up glaciers and leave floating blocks of ice in its wake, this remote part of the world is stunning for those wishing to get back to basics and see nature at its wintery best.
There are a few companies who offer tuition and guided tours and with such a wealth of paddling options to choose from it’s usually best to book something like this. Guides will take you to the best spots on the day, ensuring you maximise your time in the wilderness.
Summer and autumn are the best months for visiting Alaska for kayaking. Outside of this, the temperatures plummet and harsher weather becomes the norm. There would be nothing worse than travelling to your dream paddling spot and being storm bound for the whole time.
Other regions that came out in the top 10 of our poll –
The Rockies (Canada)
The Canadian Rockies are synonymous with winter sports and is the choice destination for many enthusiasts who love sliding across fluffy white powdery snow. It’s also a great choice, particularly in summer, for a spot of paddling.
The Rockies make up the Canadian segment of the North American Rocky Mountains range and lie at the eastern end of the Canadian Cordillera.
With its numerous peaks, such as Mount Robson and Mount Columbia, the Canadian Rockies makes for an awe-inspiring sight. Made up of mostly shale and limestone the majority of the range is protected by parks and a World Heritage Site.
The Rockies also make up the eastern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire that runs all the way round the Pacific Ocean.
Within the Rockies are 5 national parks –4 of them interlocking – and make up the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage site. Within the boundaries of the parks the Alpine Club of Canada maintains a series of alpine huts for use by mountaineers and adventurers.
Due to the steep alpine nature of the Rockies you can be sure that at certain times of year there will be plenty of water flowing off the tops of mountains down the rivers of the Rockies. When in flood some of these rivers can be challenging to the best of paddlers while during calmer periods a more relaxed experience is on offer.
Plenty of activity/adventure centres exist in the Canadian Rockies with a number providing ‘experience’ trips where you’re guided down the length of a river in a safe and friendly manner. For the inexperienced, this may be the best course of action when planning a paddling trip.
Kayaking in winter is possible but you’d have to be particularly hard-core as the temperatures at this time of year plummet compared to summer. Ice and glacial run off are typical and due to cold weather water flow may, at times be quite low, due to parts of the river freezing over.
Spring sees the snow and ice start to melt and the volume of water begins to increase. This can be a good time of year for high adrenaline paddling, although air temperatures will still be cold at times.
Summer and autumn will serve up warmer weather although river levels may be significantly less depending on the amount of rain the region has received.
Abel Tasman National Park (New Zealand)
If paddling a kayak on the sea is your thing then surely one of the most stunning locations on the planet is the Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand.
The smallest national park in the country it stretches from Wainui Inlet (Golden Bay) to the north all the way south to Marahau.
Boasting some truly spectacular scenery with a temperate climate to boot, Abel Tasman National Park is a stunning location for any paddler of any level. Perfectly formed beaches, bush undergrowth covered islands, tranquil sheltered lagoons, spectacular sea caves and interesting marine and birdlife all make for a captivating destination.
The Abel Tasman area of New Zealand features a temperate, mild climate all year round and is therefore a great paddling location any time of the year.
The Nelson region of NZ boasts the highest recoded sunshine hours in the whole of the country and is protected from wetter weather moving in from the west, south and east. If the forecast is for rain then it usually stays in the hills leaving the bay clearer.
If rain is forecast from the north then this will most likely happen, any other direction and it will be wrong. This means that there’s more chance of good weather when you visit for your paddling adventure.
Paddling in the Abel Tasman National Park area of New Zealand is mostly a tranquil and relaxing affair featuring flat water open sea paddling.
Stunning beaches, beautiful coloured water and interesting sights are what makes up the experience of kayaking in this neck of the woods.
Serious adrenaline heads may have to look elsewhere as Abel Tasman National Park isn’t really about this type of paddling. The only thing to watch out for in Abel Tasman is the tidal effects in certain areas such as around the estuaries of Torrent Bay and Awaroa.
With the unusual sand bars of some areas there’s plenty of landing options if you hit them at the right state of tide, just don’t get caught out with the change in tide!
A good site for more info is http://seakayaknz.co.nz/index.html as these guys have extensive experience at running trips in the area.
Barrier Reef (Australia)