Frequently Asked Questions

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Glow worm kayak tours in the Waikato region, Lake Karapiro | Riverside Adventures

Glowworm & Kayak Tours

Will I get wet?
Due to the design of our kayaks (being sit-on rather than sit in), you may get slightly wet - this will be dependent on your paddling technique. We provide you with splash pants and jackets, however we do recommend you bring a change of clothing just in case!

How stable are your kayaks?
Our kayaks are extremely stable... ask about our headstands!

Do I need to have kayaking experience?
No, you don't. Our kayaks are very easy to use for all skill levels. We also give you a basic tutorial before you get out on the water. You will be required to paddle for approximately 1 hour so a moderate level of fitness is required.

Do I need to be able to speak english?
You need to be able to hold a basic conversation in english or there must be someone in your group who can translate what instructions the guides are giving, especially around Health & Safety. 

Are there risks involved?
Please view our Risk Disclosure here

Do I need to be able to swim?
Our kayak tours are held in calm waters and we provide you with a Personal Floatation Device (lifejacket) so there is no requirement to be able to swim. In fact, we want you to stay IN the kayak please...

Can I see the glowworms in the daytime?
No - even though they continue to glow, we can't see the glow effect in daylight. 

What should I wear on a kayak glow worm tour?
For a glow worm tour in summer we recommend shorts/leggings and a warm top. In cooler months thermals and a jacket are a good idea. Definitely no jeans or cotton track pants when on the water - if these items get wet they become very cold. Merino or thermals are a great choice. We provide splash pants, jackets and wet shoes.

Should I eat before my tour?
Depending on the start time of the tour, we would recommend having something to eat prior to your tour (especially in summer), as it can be late when we finish and your options in our area are very limited.

Where does the tour start and finish?
The tour will start and finish in the same place at our base on Horahora road. 

Will I get my own kayak?
We use double kayaks on our tours. If your group is an odd number, you may be required to share with someone from another group.

Biking Tours

Are the activities safe?
Absolutely! At Riverside Adventures safety is our highest priority and we take every measure possible to ensure this. All our staff are highly experienced and we know the waters and trails really well. We advise each person to participate within their limits and to take care, particularly on the bike trails as the surface can be rough and unstable in places.

What should I wear on a bike tour?
For biking we suggest you wear comfortable clothing and closed in shoes (skirts are not recommended), and don't forget your water bottle.

Do you provide all the gear I need?
For biking we provide you with helmets, and a small pack with first aid and puncture repair kits. Gel seat covers are available when required, as are hi-vis vests and backpacks.

What grade is the Waikato River Trail?
The trail is mostly classed as Grade 3 (intermediate) with a step up to Grade 4 (advanced) on the Waipapa section. The Karapiro section at the northern end of the the trail is the most popular being a Grade 2-3, and most people with a moderate fitness level can complete this section without any issues.

General Questions

Can I bring a camera?
Yes, we can provide you with a dry-bag to put it in while kayaking or you can purchase a waterproof phone cover from us.

Is there a place to buy food and drink?
We have a selection of drinks, snacks and ice-creams available in our office, but for something more substantial we recommend stopping in either Cambridge, Tirau or Matamata.

Are there toilets available?
We only have very limited toilet facilities available and we recommend stopping before you arrive. The last stop if coming from the north is Mobil Karapiro, and from the south is BP Tirau.

Are there a minimum/maximum age or weight restrictions?
Yes, the minimum age for our tours is 5 years old and for our kayak glowworm tour is 8 years old. There is no maximum age, as long as you are reasonably fit and able. Advertised weight limit for kayaking is 120kg.

Do I need to book in advance?
We highly recommend booking our guided tours to reserve a space as these regularly sell out. 

Do I need to be fit?
You need to have a moderate level of fitness for your own personal comfort and enjoyment.

What happens if it rains?
If weather conditions are adverse and we need to reschedule your tour, we will work with you to arrange a new date that suits. We take rain, wind, temperature, lake levels and river flow into consideration before making any decision to postpone.

What is your cancellation policy?
For guided tours we require 7 days notice of cancellation. See our Terms here.

Where can I stay?
The closest towns are Matamata and Cambridge. There is a range of different options from Air BnBs to awesome motels, hotels and lodges. You can check out our accommodation options here.

Where should I eat?
Matamata and Cambridge both have many different options, from fast food to pubs to fine dining. We are spoilt for choice - ask us for our personal recommendations.