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If paddling through clear, still blue waters surrounded by golden sandy beaches and native green forests sounds like your idea of paradise, you’re not alone – it was a love for the unrivalled scenery of Abel Tasman National Park that spurred the owners of R&R Kayaks to turn their passion into a tourism business.
According to Lauretta and Rohan (better known as Rets & Ro), the couple behind R&R Kayaks, the business is the product of a dream. Their mission is to provide the highest quality sea kayaking adventures for their guests through strong, effective and ethical management practices, high levels of training for motivated staff, and a clear focus on environmental values, with respect for whenua (land) and moana (ocean).
R&R Kayaks’ 2020 operational season was cut short after forced closure in March. The lack of international tourists means their upcoming season will look very different and is likely to be much shorter than usual. Rohan and Lauretta are hoping that Kiwi tourists will be sufficient to keep their business afloat throughout the summer season, as government packages for the wider tourism industry do not assist smaller tourism operators like R&R Kayaks. This was particularly hard for the team considering their larger competitors did receive government support.
The couple have been funnelling all of their energy and advertising budgets into the domestic market to encourage Kiwis to explore their backyard and come paddle the Abel Tasman with them. Every year they travel the South Island delivering brochures to accommodation providers and agents – something that since receiving a Toyota Highlander through Toyota’s small business driver initiative, has become much easier – the couple know that they are travelling safely and comfortably, with plenty of room for 25,000 brochures! The size of the Highlander also allows R&R Kayaks to offer a new airport service to their guests, with the added bonus of good towing capacity for a luggage trailer.
If you’re interested in exploring a different corner of Aotearoa by water next summer and what to book ahead, check out R&R Kayaks on Instagram, Facebook, or visit their website to book: https://www.rrkayaks.co.nz/