10 Best Places to SUP in New Zealand© Tourism Bay of Plenty
10 Best Places to SUP in New Zealand

Paddleboarding in New Zealand: 10 Best SUP Tours [2024]

© Tourism Bay of Plenty
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
NZ Pocket Guide is 10 years old. Thank you for trusting us with your trip for over a decade!

Where to Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) in New Zealand

It’s true, the world’s fastest-growing sport has been lapped up quickly by Kiwis. Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is just one other way to explore the great outdoors of New Zealand. With more than 15,000 km (9,320 mi) of coastline and hundreds of lakes, there are plenty of amazing environments to hop on a SUP board and start exploring. However, since more of us don’t exactly travel around with a paddleboard, here are some awesome places for paddleboarding in New Zealand where you can hire a SUP board or do a SUP tour.

Apart from accessing some beautiful parts of New Zealand’s coasts and lakes, paddleboarding is also a favourite pastime in New Zealand for fitness, yoga and even racing. Join in the Kiwi culture through the sport of stand-up paddleboarding! SUP tours in New Zealand usually come with an introductory lesson that will get you stood on the board in no time.

1. Auckland

Go beyond the beach on one of the many exciting SUP tours in Auckland provided by the Social Nature Movement. Watch the water light up with LED lights or bioluminescent plankton on one of the night-SUP tours or paddle alongside stunning waterfalls and down secluded rivers to small community pubs and breweries by day; there are a wealth of ways to paddle in Auckland. Find out more about Auckland SUP tours on socialnaturemovement.nz.

Location: Auckland Central, Auckland, North Island.

10 Best Places to SUP in New Zealand© Social Nature Movement

2. Whangamata

All the action is out on the water in the little Coromandel town of Whangamata. While there are lots to explore along its 6 km (4 mi) beach, the gem of Whangamata is Whenuakura (Donut Island). Paddle through an archway into the middle of a ring-shaped island with towering cliffs topped with forest. The island is steeped in Maori legend adding to its grandeur. Tours are available with Surfsup and Pedal and Paddle. For more things to do in the Coromandel, see the 5 Fun Things to Do in Whangamata and the 20 Best Things to Do in The Coromandel.

Location: Whangamata, Coromandel, North Island.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

3. Poor Knights Islands

These islands off the shores of Tutukaka are not to be missed! Not only are the rugged cliff islands a spectacle to see, but the whole area is a reserve for wildlife both underwater and on the islands (that’s why it’s also a top diving spot). Paddle through natural archways and into the world’s largest sea cave, Rikoriko Cave. SUP tours are available with Dive Tututaka and Fish Tutukaka.

Location: Tutukaka, Northland, North Island.

10 Best Places to SUP in New Zealand© David Kirkland - Northland Inc

4. Rotorua

One of the lesser-known activities in Rotorua and lesser-known places to see glowworms in New Zealand, Lake Rotoiti hides a small glowworm cave that you can float into via kayak or paddleboard. Join Paddle Board Rotorua (more information on Viator or Klook) for a sunset paddle on Lake Rotoiti where you’ll drift through glowworm caves and see the first stars appear as you paddle back to shore. See more activities nearby in the 25 Best Things to Do in Rotorua.

Location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, North Island.

© Rotorua Paddle Tours - Destination Rotorua

5. Waiheke Island

Aucklanders love their stand-up paddle boarding so it’s no surprise that SUP boards are so readily available to hire on Waiheke Island. Explore the beaches and inlets of this island of the Hauraki Gulf, also famous for its wineries. All in all, if you want a more laid-back SUP experience then do it on one of New Zealand’s most relaxing islands! SUP boards and paddles can be rented with the Waiheke Adventure Centre, while tours are available with SUP Waiheke. Team up your trip with the 10 Best Things to Do on Waiheke Island.

Location: Waiheke Island, Auckland, North Island.

10 Best Places to SUP in New Zealand© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Mt Maunganui

Any trip to Tauranga is not complete without climbing The Mount (Mauao) – a volcano standing high in the Mt Maunganui suburb. It’s also worth hopping on a paddle board and checking out the hidden beaches and marine life around Mauao too! Book your guided excursion with Mauao Adventures. Plus, see more things to do nearby in our list of the 15 Best Things to Do in Tauranga.

Location: Mt Maunganui, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, North Island.

NZPocketGuide.com© PocketGuide.com

7. Queenstown

Queenstown is on every traveller’s list when they venture to New Zealand. For that reason, the town is alive 24/7! To escape the hustle and bustle and take a break from all the adrenaline activities offered in the “Adrenaline Capital of New Zealand”, hire a paddleboard from the lakefront base of Paddle Queenstown and see what the amazing Lake Wakatipu has to offer! Alternatively, join them for a tour of the lesser-visited Moke Lake with breathtaking mountain views and tranquil waters. Learn more about the tour on Viator and Klook, and check out more experiences in the 45 Best Things to Do in Queenstown.

Location: Queenstown, Otago, South Island.

pxhere© pxhere

8. Lake Taupo

Experience New Zealand’s largest lake in style by hiring a stand-up paddleboard. Paddle straight from the water’s edge, either from the town with LakeFUN Taupo or from Acacia Bay with Taupo Kayaking Adventures. Alternatively, hire a SUP board for the whole day with Canoe & Kayak Taupo and go on your own SUP mission, perhaps to the famed Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings. Plan more of your Taupo escapade with the 20 Best Things to Do in Taupo.

Location: Taupo, Waikato, North Island.

Paddleboarding in New Zealand: 10 Best SUP Tours [2023]© Canoe & Kayak Taupo

9. Wanaka

SUP on Lake Wanaka or the moving waters of the Clutha River in a SUP adventure in Wanaka with Paddle Wanaka. With stunning mountain surroundings and a calm lake, it’s the perfect location for a taster of stand-up paddleboarding, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro. Either hire from the lakeside for a relaxed paddle or go on a mission with boat transport to some more secluded spots.

Location: Wanaka, Otago, South Island.

Wanaka NZ© Wanaka NZ

10. Punakaiki

Discover the beauty of the Paparoa National Park and the Pororari River by hiring a SUP board and paddle in Punakaiki. Paddle up a river canyon with towering cliffs and luxuriant palm tree groves on this otherworldly self-guided experience. Waka Puna Paddle and Peddle will supply all you need, including wetsuits, neoprene shorts, booties and waterproof containers to protect you (and your stuff) from the elements. See more to do in the area in the 10 Best Things to Do in Punakaiki.

Location: Punakaiki, West Coast, South Island.

Paddleboarding in New Zealand: 10 Best SUP Tours [2023]© westcoast.co.nz

More About Paddleboarding in New Zealand

That’s it for our list of the be SUP tours and places for paddleboarding in New Zealand. For similar experiences, take a look a the following:

Finally, complete your NZ bucket list with the 101 Things to Do in New Zealand: The Ultimate List.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

Was this article useful?