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Bioluminescence Kayak Tour – Auckland

Only $119 per person

Tours are run on demand, minimum numbers apply.

Magnificent night out
I had a magnificent night out on the water. It was 100% worth the time and money. It was my first time to see bioluminescence in person, and what a treat it was.
Willem H

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

An evening of magic!

Our bioluminescence kayak tour is peaceful, breathtaking, and somewhat other-worldly! Come on an adventure with us to discover bioluminescence up close and personal! Enjoy a most wonderful two-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.

As Seen on TV!

Check out the coverage on TVNZ

This adventure was amazing. Our guides were amazing! We had the pleasures of experiencing two different types of bio plankton, one of which most of our guides hadn’t been able to experience themselves. The vibe was great for our group of 12 too. You will get wet, it’s not a bad thing, just you’re on the ocean with waves (and you have to get the kayak into the shallows of the beach), so plan accordingly for clothing and/or bring a change of clothes! Our guides made sure everyone was comfortable and able to be successful when kayaking too, even for beginners but it is a work out, so be prepared to work a little to get out of the bay (small waves/wind). 10000% this was amazing, we would do it again in an instant. Double perk for our adventure was star gazing, seeing all the starts over the ocean was fantastic too.

Misty D


What in the world is bioluminescence?

There are SIX distinct bioluminescence we look for.
1. “Big Blue”. This is where the surface of the water lights up with amazing blue Plankton.
2. “Galaxy” is seen when you move your hand or paddle just under the surface. The water lights up with tiny bioluminescent stars. It
looks like a whole new galaxy underwater.
3. “Iceberg” is a Zoo Plankton called salps. We believe it has eaten so much Phytoplankton that it glows continuously as it floats past you.
4. “Magical Fish”. These small fish are about 10mm to 15mm. They are thought to be eating so much Phytoplankton that they continuously glow. They swim around leaving a super fine trail of bioluminescence. Sometimes, you can even pick them up in your cupped hand, just
5. “Fairy Dust”. An incredibly soft dusting of fine bioluminescence over the surface.
6. “Reef Sparkle”. Described as seeing underwater city lights. This type is found just under the surface of the water around reefs we pass by on tour. • Watch the sunset slip below the horizon and enjoy an exhilarating
night paddle.
• Be one of the few to see this natural phenomenon.
• We have a 95+ percent chance of seeing at least one of these types of Bioluminescence on every trip however, Iceberg and Magical Fish are very rare (5%). On some extraordinary nights you may be lucky enough
to see all of these.

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.

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:

  • Swimming togs and Towel
  • Warm extra layers; avoid wearing cotton/denim jeans
  • A lightweight windbreaker/raincoat is recommended
  • Well-fitting wet shoes (old sand shoes) for kayaking, and walking shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Personal medication, waterproof camera, and polaroid sunglasses
  • Spare warm clothes to change into when finished.
  • For Spring & Autumn Tours (Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr), make
    sure to have extra warm layers and a beanie.

Tour location:

The tour is based just 25 minutes north of Auckland in the Long Bay Okura Marine Reserve, which is boarded by the Long Bay Regional Park, the Okura Bush Scenic Reserve, Karepiro Esplanade Reserve, Dacre Cottage Historic Reserve.

Meeting location:

North Shore / Hibiscus Coast area. The specific meeting location will be arranged closer to the Tour
Departure time due to uncertainty around weather conditions, tides, etc.

Please note:

  1. Our standard kayaks in our fleet will take most paddlers pretty well! However, if you weigh over 120 kg please let us know so we can make sure that we can best accommodate you with a comfortable time while on tour with us!
  2. A reasonable level of fitness is required i.e. happy to walk nonstop for 30 minutes and able to sit on the ground and get back up unaided. If you have any doubts about being fit enough, please call one of the Canoe & Kayak team for a chat and they will let you know if the tour is for you.

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.

This is such a worthwhile experience. The guides were wonderful and spent time explaining things to us, giving helpful tips and pointing out things. They didn’t hurry us along which was great. Thoroughly recommend.

Tours are run on demand, minimum numbers apply.
This is a magical experience, and one not to be missed. The guides took the time to explain everything to us, and made us feel very safe. We were fortunate to get to see some bio under an incredibly beautiful, starry sky with a brilliant full moon. Loved it!