Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt


Punt the Avon River, kayak Lyttelton Harbour or splash around the Groynes

  • 2 minutes

Christchurch, South Island

Christchurch water sports take the slow lane. Not a jet ski or jet boat in sight, rather it’s elegant Edwardian clothing, a pole and a slowly guided punt on the gently flowing Avon river.  Sea kayak Lyttelton Harbour or explore nearby Diamond Harbour. The Groynes waterways provide opportunities for families to indulge in family fun in pedal boats.


  • Punt Avon river with a guide dressed in Edwardian finery
  • Kayak yourself around Lyttelton Harbour
  • Enjoy a guided sunset kayak to Quail Island
  • Groynes water attractions from pedal boats to kayaks


The most popular punting option is to join a 30 minute guided tour of the Avon. Tours start and finish at the historic Antigua Boatshed with its striped green distinctive facade. The punts replicate the original 1880’s punt design with plush velvet seats and an Edwardian dressed punter in their striped pants, braces and boater straw hat. As there is no motor, just the quiet sound of a pole dipping in the water you will clearly hear the sound of ducks and the rustle of willow leaves brushing against the river.

Guests are supplied with

  • Blankets, umbrellas and hot water bottles
  • Commentary on the river and attractions

Antigua BoatShed company offers several options for self-guided tours of the Avon from plastic hulled kayaks, canoes and traditional wooden rowboats. There is a cafe on site offering standard counter brunch options.


The pedestrian / bike shared pathway and boardwalk is incorporated into the

section of Oxford Terrace, between Willow and Kilmore Streets. Around 17,000 plants are now providing a scenic upgrade to the area.

SOURCE: Avon Loop upgrade gives kayakers easy access to river : Newsline

Airborn Paddling

A unique way to explore the Avon river or Lyttelton & Diamond Harbour is on a SUP or stand up paddleboard. Self-guided tours only.

Adventure By Nature offers visitors a chance to explore the Lyttelton Harbour either on guided or self-guided tours. There is an option of transport from Christchurch making this activity a great choice for visitors without a vehicle.


  • Discover secret bays on a sea kayaking excursion
  • Visit Quail Island for glorious sunset views
  • Guided tour option with small groups.
  • Transport from Christchurch.

As you begin sea kayaking away from the beach, your guide will teach you how to steer your boat and paddle in tour mode. Heading out towards the Island, there are plenty of bays to explore with quaint Lyttelton boat sheds brightening up the shore along the way. You can choose to paddle for the entire 3 hours with a guide while experiencing the sunset on the water or opt to visit Quail Island and watch the sunset from the beach or the top of the island.

Groynes Boat Hire is located in the picturesque Groynes Reserve. At the Boat Hire, you can enjoy family time on the lake in your choice of watercraft. Hire Hire pedal boats, aqua bikes, single and double canoes. Hire boat facilities are open weekends only.


The Avon River Otakaro punting / kayak course meanders past the Botanic Gardens, Hagley Park and Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. Enjoy having a ringside seat to riverside cafes and bars in the new business centre and past the restored Christchurch Town Hall.

Self-guided kayak adventures can continue following the 7 km river route past the Margaret Mahy playground  through the Christchurch 9/11 Memorial, which is created from five steel girders from one of the World Trade Centre towers.  The river currents pick up speed as the Avon flows through suburbs and the Christchurch Red Zone where all the homes have been removed from the river banks due to earthquake damage. The largest pump station (whose job is to keep Christchurch original swampy plain dry) and HorseShoe Lake feed water into the Avon. Opening out into an estuary the Avon joins the Pacific Ocean. The Avon flows in an easterly direction reaching the Avon Heathcote Estuary and joining the sea near the beach community of Sumner.

Margaret Mahy playground water fun Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Margaret Mahy playground water fun Christchurch


Hire Gear

Sea Kayaks include a spraydeck, buoyancy aid, paddle, bilge pump and paddle float.

Sit on Tops include a buoyancy aid and paddle.

Multisport kayaks are hired with a spraydeck, buoyancy aid, wing or standard sea paddle, air bags (always included) and cradles if required.

No white water kayaks available at this stage

Gear (buoyancy aids, helmets, etc) may also be hired alone


Lyttelton Kayaks. A well regarded kayak manufacturer hired sea kayaks for Lyttelton Harbour self-guided exploration.

Ensure you carefully read the sea safety messages … Sea Kayak Safety (Wet Exit / Re-Entry). This is our contribution to sea kayak safety.

What follows is based on this section in our Lyttelton Kayaks Safety Plan.Wet Exit / Re-entry

Steve and I operate this sea kayak hire business. Novice paddlers.  12̊C water. Fast moving weather systems. No guides and no chase boat. We give the novice paddler the tools and techniques to enable unassisted re-entry after a wet exit …

@Lyttelton Kayaks
@Lyttelton Kayaks


Related articles



If you have a query about content, travel deals or anything else, our team is happy to answer all your questions 🙂

    Your information is secure, no third party involved.
    100% Safe, secure, privacy guaranteed. Privacy Policy.