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This kayak tour is an exhilarating night paddle. Experience the magical light show put on by the smallest of living sea creatures.


This is a two hour trip, perfect for experiencing a night paddle with the family or a group of friends.


  • Children can attend, however, they must be accompanied by an adult.
  • This kayak tour is suitable for children 11 years and over, although younger children over 5 are welcome if the conditions are suitable (each child must be accompanied by an adult).

What in the world is bioluminescence?

Bioluminescence is quite simply phenomenal! It’s the production and emission of light by a living organism. This phenomenon is found in many marine environments, from the ocean surface to the deep seafloor. Bioluminescence is seen as a glowing and glittering seascape that has been triggered by a physical disturbance, such as waves or a moving boat hull. Marine animals use it as an attractant to attract prey or as a warning signal to other animals. Some deep ocean fish dangle a lighted lure in front of their mouths to attract prey, while some squid shoot out a bioluminescent liquid, instead of ink, to confuse their predators. Worms and tiny crustaceans also use bioluminescence to attract mates. Some organisms can even choose the intensity and colour of their lights!

How does bioluminescence occur?

Bioluminescence occurs through a chemical reaction that produces light energy within an organism’s body. For a reaction to occur, a species must contain luciferin, a molecule that when it reacts with oxygen, produces light. In the ocean, bioluminescence is not as rare as you may think. Bioluminescence is found in many marine organisms: bacteria, plankton, algae, jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, sea stars, fish, and sharks to name just a few. In fish alone, there are about 1,500 known species that luminesce.

Bioluminescent organisms live throughout the world’s oceans, from the surface to the depths of the seafloor, from near the coast to the open ocean. In the depths of the sea, bioluminescence is extremely common, and because the deep sea is so vast, bioluminescence may be the most common form of communication on the planet!

When does bioluminescence occur?

The warmer the weather and the water, the better the bioluminescence! The Peak season for bioluminescence in Auckland is October-April.

An evening of magic

Our Bioluminescence kayak tour is an exhilarating night paddle where you can experience the magical phenomena of a light show put on by the smallest of these living sea creatures. Be one of the few to see this natural phenomenon known as ‘Sea Sparkle’ or ‘Marine Aurora’.

At night Auckland’s bioluminescence waters around Okura come alive in bright glowing hues. Glide through the sea and watch as your kayak leaves a glittering wake behind you. Dip your hands in and see the sparkles latch to your hand as you withdraw it from the water.

The swirling of your hand, every paddle stroke, and the rolling wake off of your kayak will all sparkle throughout the darkness. Many of our customers describe bioluminescence as an underwater laser show and liken it to Avatar’s ‘Pandora’!

Our bioluminescence kayak tour is peaceful, breathtaking, and somewhat otherworldly! Come on an adventure with us to discover bioluminescence up close and personal! Enjoy a most wonderful 1.5-hour tour with friends or family or come along yourself, our friendly guides will make you feel comfortable and ensure you have a magical evening out on the water.

What’s Included:

  • All kayaking and safety equipment
  • Stable sea kayaks or sit-on-tops are used
  • All tuition from our experienced qualified kayak guides
  • A guaranteed great time!

What to bring:

For kayaking bring swimming clothes and warm extra layers– avoid wearing cotton, wear well-fitting wet shoes, and a lightweight windbreaker/raincoat is recommended.
Also bring a towel, sunscreen, personal medication, waterproof camera, and polaroid sunglasses.

Once the tour has finished have a change of warm clothes, thermals, fleeces, etc.

Please note:

Our standard kayaks in our fleet will take most paddlers pretty well! However, if you weigh over 120kg please let us know so we can make sure that we can best accommodate you with a comfortable time while on tour with us!

Safety Terms and Customer Declaration

In any adventure activity, there is an element of risk involved. Risks in undertaking this activity include drowning, illness as a result of adverse weather conditions, water damage to personal belongings, and contact with wildlife.
The Staff and management of Canoe & Kayak take all practicable steps to identify and mimimise potential dangers. However, you must follow our instructions and use the provided safety equipment at all times. Adults accompanying any person under the age of 18 must ensure the underage person follows our instructions at all times. You must release or indemnify Canoe & Kayak and our staff against any liability we incur to anyone else, resulting from your failure to follow our instructions or the failure of any person accompanying you under the age of 18 to follow our instructions.
We reserve the right to withdraw any person who in our opinion is likely to endanger themselves or others. We also reserve the right to cancel the tour if we become concerned for any reason for your safety or that of any other person.

WARNING: Under New Zealand law it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to sue anyone if you are injured. In Addition, New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme provides only limited assistance to visitors to New Zealand who are injured. We strongly recommend that all visitors to New Zealand have full insurance covering any injury they might suffer, including medical treatment cover, before undertaking this activity.

EXCLUSIONS: To the extent permitted by law, all our liability for damage to your property, disruption to travel plans, or mental injury is excluded. This exclusion is subject to any rights or remedies you may have under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993.
Please notify us of any medical conditions or other information we need to know to include you safely in this activity. For example: asthma, allergies, heart conditions, epilepsy, or pregnancy.

You are entitled to access any information we hold about you or to request its correction at any time.

We had a great time on the sea kayak skills course! The location was gorgeous, and we learned lots about native NZ marine life, and spent time spotting sting-rays. We also learned lots of useful strokes and techniques which will come in useful, as well as learning about understanding the weather and knowing what your limits are as a kayaker. And as an absolute bonus we also learned how delicious a meal can be while camping! And the gear provided was top quality. Thank you!

Jess I

OutdoorsMark is a national outdoor safety audit programme designed by the New Zealand outdoors community for the New Zealand outdoors community.