Three of a kind … kayak ex­pe­di­tions

Paradise - - Traveller -

TIGAK IS­LANDS, NEW IRE­LAND, PNG

This truly un­spoilt ar­chi­pel­ago in far north­east­ern Pa­pua New Guinea is sur­rounded by royal-blue pris­tine wa­ters and un­touched co­ral reefs, mak­ing it a kayaker’s par­adise, which you can cre­ate an en­tire week-long hol­i­day out of. Pad­dle through the clear wa­ters from one is­land to the next, stop­ping off at white-sand beaches and vis­it­ing vil­lages along the way.

SOME­THING SPE­CIAL

Nago Is­land is a tur­tle-nest­ing site, so pull your kayak up on the sand here for a chance to see the ma­jes­tic crea­tures in ac­tion.

DON’T MISS

Tum­bling off the side of your kayak with your mask and flip­pers on, to ex­pe­ri­ence some of the best snorkelling in the world. You’ll pass over war wrecks, tech­ni­colour fish, co­ral and even sharks, as you swim through the shim­mer­ing blues and greens that are Tigak’s sig­na­ture.

WEB­SITE LAKE WANAKA, NEW ZEALAND

The wa­ters of Lake Wanaka on New Zealand’s South Is­land are usu­ally so still they mir­ror the snow-capped moun­tains gath­ered around the lake. They’ll be marred only by the rip­ples from your kayak as you ex­plore the coast­line. You can take ei­ther half or full-day guided trips, stop­ping en route for is­land walks and al­fresco pic­nics with tea, cof­fee and snacks, or hire a kayak by the hour if you’d pre­fer to head out on your own.

SOME­THING SPE­CIAL

If you re­ally want to get wild, overnight kayak­ing tours are an op­tion, too, where you’ll get to eat din­ner by the fire and sleep un­der the stars.

DON’T MISS

Stop­ping off to ex­plore pris­tine Mou Waho Is­land, where you’ll likely meet New Zealand’s iconic weka birds and, if you’re up for a short hike, swim in the is­land’s lake. This is­land re­ally is a step back in time, hav­ing been re­pop­u­lated only with species that are na­tive to New Zealand, and reveg­e­tated with the na­tive trees that were cut down in the 1870s.

WEB­SITE RAUTA IS­LAND, VAN­U­ATU

The kayak­ing around Ratua Is­land, a pri­vate­ly­owned, not-for-profit eco re­sort that’s a 30-minute boat ride from Espir­itu Santo (the largest of Van­u­atu’s 83 is­lands), is spec­tac­u­lar. But it’s the short trip to neigh­bour­ing Malo Is­land, where you’ll pad­dle through man­grove­flanked tun­nels to a deep nat­u­ral spring called a ‘blue hole’, that will re­ally blow your mind. Here, you’ll swim in deep azure wa­ters sur­rounded by vine-cloaked cliffs, and climb the huge, low-hang­ing trees so you can bomb­dive into the wa­ter like a big kid.

SOME­THING SPE­CIAL

If you time your kayak around Ratua Is­land right – towards sun­rise and sun­set, that is – you might glimpse the res­i­dent giant tur­tles, their bald heads oc­ca­sion­ally break­ing the sur­face to in­hale a lung­ful of air. Or, pull a kayak out into the wa­ter af­ter dark, to pad­dle un­der the light of the moon in wa­ters ablaze with phos­pho­res­cence.

DON’T MISS

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