Department of Conservation Approved
The Catlins & about us

Papatowai Freedom Kayak Hire is a small business, operating in a really precious environment. Visitors to Papatowai and The Catlins in general, comment on the natural beauty of the area. Peace and serenity and community spirit is well and truly alive in Papatowai. So we feel we have a tremendous responsibility to do everything we can to support that, without changing the very thing that we and our visitors appreciate so much about Papatowai and The Catlins. Papatowai Freedom Kayak Hire is committed to sustainability. Sustainable tourism aims to benefit the local community, respect local culture; conserve natural resources and educate tourists about the importance of conservation. Papatowai Freedom Kayak Hire are an approved concessionaire with the Department of Conservation. As part of our approval to operate in public conservation areas concessions of $3.00 per adult and $1.50 per child go to supporting conservation efforts by the Department of Conservation.

We see Papatowai Freedom Kayak Hire as an Eco-tourism operation. The Catlins definitely has a reputation as an Eco-tourism destination. At its best, Eco-tourism is responsible travel to natural areas that safeguards the integrity of the ecosystem and produces economic benefits for local communities that can encourage conservation.   Papatowai Freedom Kayak Hire has a great opportunity to educate visitors about the high value of the natural environment, history and ecology of the area. During our safety briefings, kayak renters are provided information about their kayak trips, along with guidelines of respecting the fauna and flora of the area. Kayaking is a very environmentally friendly pursuit, leaving only ripples in the water. Exploring the waterways by kayak allows us to access the natural surroundings inaccessible on foot. We are proud that our small business and of course our customers contribute to New Zealand conservation efforts. As well as providing an income our business allows us to live and work in a New Zealand paradise.

Papatowai Environment 
The MacLennan River Scenic Reserve and part of the Tahakopa Bay Scenic Reserve. 

Both the MacLennan River Scenic Reserve and the Tahakopa Bay Scenic Reserve are listed as Significant Wetlands. The MacLennan River Scenic Reserve is described as rush and sedge swamp, shrub swamp.The MacLennan River is a slow single-channel river. This wetland contains the largest stand of white pine/kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) in South East Otago. The Tahakopa Bay Scenic Reserve is described as shrub swamp, rush and sedge swamp, flax swamp, lowland lake. Described as a nationally significant forest sequence from swamp to high podocarp forest. 

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Tahakopa River Bogs Composition of manuka, jointed wire rush/oioi (Leptocarpus similis) and white pine/kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides). Tahakopa River Bogs includes part of the Papatowai Scenic Reserve. The Wetland area within the Papatowai Scenic Reserve is called the Tahakopa River Mouth,  it is listed as a Significant Wetland. Described as slow-flowing brackish water with extensive mudflats at low tide. Good numbers of White-faced Heron (Ardea novaehollandiae novaehollandiae) and other waders and Shags are found here. Good mudflat fauna and shellfish for food. Whitebait/inaka (Galaxias spp.) and other fish.  This location was an  early Moa hunting area and Moa hunting camps are located at Papatowai and near the Tahakopa River mouth. Part of the Tahakopa River Bogs is called the Tahakopa Wetland ,  it is listed as a Significant Wetland. Described as a rush and sedge swamp, shrub bog and heathland, podocarp (Podocarpus sp.) swamp and flax swamp. 

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Presence of Fernbird (Bowdleria punctata) and Australasian Bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus)are located here.. Average number of Finches (Fringillidae), and good insect life in mud for food. 

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Stuarts Marsh: Stuarts Marsh has a high degree of wetland naturalness. Scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character. Less than 15% of marshes remain in Otago.

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Department of Conservation Approved