Bioluminescence Kayak Tour Auckland

Two Torbay locations:

The two locations are due to high and low tides, the experiences are equally good

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Okura

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Waiake Beach

Auckland Bioluminescence Kayak Tour

Auckland Bioluminescence kayak tours offer a magical and awe-inspiring experience. Participants paddle through dark waters, witnessing the mesmerizing glow emitted by bioluminescent organisms. Guided by knowledgeable experts, these Auckland tours provide insight into the science behind bioluminescence while creating a unique and unforgettable adventure that showcases the beauty of nature’s illuminating phenomenon.

Auckland bioluminescence

Duration: 2 hrs

Experience Bioluminescent Night Cruising. Be one of the few to see this natural phenomenon known as ‘Sea Sparkle’ or ‘Marine Aurora’. This bioluminescence kayak tour in Auckland is an inspiring night paddle.

What are the types of bioluminescence we see?

Dinoflagellate:
This is surface bioluminescence we see the most. Dinoflagellates are diverse single-celled organisms with two flagellas (organelles for bacterial locomotion). ‘Dino-Bio’ serves a vital role in ecosystems, totaling around 2,293 species.

Salps:
Probably the coolest one. Also called “sea grape,” is a barrel-shaped planktonic tunicate that moves by contracting its jelly-like body to pump sea water through. Salps feed on phytoplankton by straining and filtering sea water internally and as a result glows itself and showcases an efficient jet propulsion trail of bioluminescence!

Chaetognatha
Arrow worms, or chaetognaths, are predatory marine worms found globally in plankton (133 species), with some attaching to algae and rocks (this is where we see the rocks and reefs bioluminescencing).

Larvacean:
Larvaceans, also known as appendicularians, are small (2-8mm), transparent, tadpole-shaped tunicates found primarily in the photic zone (top ocean layer).

When is the best time to see bioluminescence?

The best time to see bioluminescence is during warmer weather & water! Peak Auckland bioluminescence season is October-April. Tours are first-come-first-serve, so don’t wait!

The bioluminescence is influenced by the moon as it produces light, thereby complicating the observation process. During the full moon and when the moon has ‘risen’ above the horizon line into the skies, it is less ideal. BUT DON’T WORRY; all of SNM’s dates have either NO moon rises or full moons!

At night auckland bioluminescence waters come alive in bright glowing hues

The water is often extremely clear giving great views of what is going past under your kayak. Auckland Bioluminescence Night Cruising allows you to experience the magical light show by the smallest of living sea creatures.

Auckland Bioluminescence Kayak Tour Overview

This incredible Auckland bioluminescence tour is peaceful and breathtaking, all at the same time. We don’t let the day end when the sun goes down.

At sunset, we gather for a welcome and our experienced guides give a briefing of the bioluminescence tour. They will equip everyone with suitable life jackets and lead the way to the launch area for the kayaks. They provide help entering the kayaks and giving instructions to those that do not have kayaking experience. Everyone gets to do the tour in their own kayak or a tandem kayak.

It’s like going on a cozy family tour. You stop along the way, where we explain more about the magical glowing water and the marine life in the bay.

We have grown up seeing millions of stars light up the night sky, beautiful, far away and untouchable. Paddling around in a kayak you are virtually floating in the bioluminescence, you trigger the marine light-show with your actions. From the kayak, you can reach into the water and let your hand light up and give the appearance of an Avatar-like character.

Enjoy being part of a small intimate group of kayakers, in an area with very little light pollution, because the darker it is, the better you see the glowing sparks in the water.

What is Bioluminescence?

A lot of marine bioluminescence is called Plankton. Plankton by definition is a “sea drifter” meaning it is at the mercy of the waters and moves with it. We see phytoplankton, because it is autotrophic, meaning an autotroph creates organic compounds, typically using light or chemical reactions for energy.

bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by living organisms. It occurs widely in marine (in)vertebrates and micro-organisms and you will likely see it in New Zealand on our Auckland bioluminescence kayak tour. We can break it down as bio- – lumen – -escence : ‘life-light-process’. When the organisms move in the water they create a beautiful glowing effect. This means that you can see fish underwater by the glow that they give off as they swim, your paddle will glow as you maneuver the waterways, and the natural flow of water will illuminate these organisms.

Bioluminesence is not phosphorescence ; a form of photoluminescence linked to fluorescence . These all absorb and reemit light, they do not produce light.

It is a biological response of microscopic algae/organism of  luciferin and luciferase called a Dinoflagellate , which is why we coined the term ”dino bio”. The perfectly natural and harmless concentration of organisms produces light before your very eyes, often existing in millions per liter of water. Your tour will include a ton of information about these rare and exotic creatures with the most experienced guides in the area.

In the warm and dark lagoon waters lies a natural phenomenon of glowing blue waters alive with activity. The swirling of your hand, every paddle stroke, and the rolling wake off of your kayak all sparkle throughout the darkness. Many guests encounter the darting blue tracer trails of nearby fish swimming, describing them as an under-water laser light show.

Many guests compare the experience to Pandora of “Avatar.” Some even recall the bioluminescence scene in “Life of Pi” as the gentle plankton leave a trickling glow when you hold it in your hands and let it trickle down your arm.

An Ocean Full of Stars – Bioluminescent Algae: their ecosystems are very rare, often found in warm-water lagoons with narrow openings to the sea. These living lights in the ocean, you can experience right here with us.

Marine Heatwaves and Climate Change

Marine heatwaves and climate change can impact bioluminescence positively due to altered ecological conditions, increased nutrient availability, adaptation, shifts in ecosystem dynamics, and changes in symbiotic relationships. This helps SNM forecast our bioluminescence tours due to sea surface temperatures. The rise in ocean temperatures may favor the growth and distribution of bioluminescent organisms, leading to an overall increase in bioluminescence. However, while this phenomenon is noteworthy, it does not outweigh the severe negative consequences of climate change, including ocean acidification, rising sea levels, and biodiversity loss. Efforts to mitigate climate change and protect marine ecosystems are crucial for maintaining a sustainable and balanced environment.

Check out our booking tab, click the book now button or fill an enquiry here.

2 hour tour duration

Gear list

Clothing

  • Thin merino or thermal shirt
  • Fleece or woolen jumper
  • Rain-proof Jacket
  • Warm beanie
  • Towel

Equipment

  • Torch
  • Footwear (water-shoes)
  • Personal medication
  • Water bottle

Includes:

Kayak
Paddle
Personal Flotation Device (PFD) with safety light

Excludes:

Transport

A Guide to Bioluminescence Tours in Auckland

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to experiencing the magical phenomenon of bioluminescence with Social Nature Movement, Auckland’s premier tour provider. This guide is designed to enlighten and inspire both locals and visitors about the natural wonder of bioluminescence, providing essential information on how to witness this natural light show responsibly and spectacularly.

Introduction to Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence is a natural light produced by a chemical reaction within living organisms. This section delves into the science behind this fascinating phenomenon, its role in the ecosystem, and its distribution worldwide, with a spotlight on occurrences in New Zealand.

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Bioluminescent Organisms in New Zealand

New Zealand is home to unique bioluminescent organisms, including glow worms and certain types of algae. Learn about these creatures, their habitats, and the conditions under which they glow, providing a mesmerising natural spectacle.

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History of Bioluminescence Toure

Trace the evolution of bioluminescence tours in Auckland, highlighting how Social Nature Movement has been at the forefront of offering these enchanting experiences, enhancing public awareness and engagement with nature.

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How to Experience Bioluminescence with Social Nature Movement

Discover the various bioluminescence tours provided by Social Nature Movement, detailing what these tours involve, what participants can expect, and how to prepare for this unique adventure.

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Best Times and Locations for Viewing Bioluminescence in Auckland

This section offers expert advice on the best times of year and the ideal locations around Auckland to experience bioluminescence, maximising your chances of witnessing this natural wonder.

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What to Bring on a Bioluminescence Tour

Prepare for your tour with a comprehensive checklist of items to bring along, ensuring a comfortable, enjoyable, and safe experience while exploring bioluminescent environments.

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Safety and Conservation Practices

Important guidelines on how to engage with bioluminescence tours responsibly, focusing on safety measures and conservation practices to protect these fragile ecosystems and ensure their sustainability.

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Customer Experiences and Testimonials

Read firsthand accounts from customers who have participated in bioluminescence tours with Social Nature Movement, sharing their experiences and the magical moments they encountered.

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FAQs about Bioluminescence and Tours

Find answers to commonly asked questions about bioluminescence and the specifics of the tours, providing clarity and additional information to help potential participants better understand what to expect.

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Contact Information and How to Book

Get in touch with Social Nature Movement to book your bioluminescence tour. This section includes all necessary contact details, social media links, and direct booking instructions.

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If you’re ready to embark on this enchanting journey and experience the glow of bioluminescence firsthand, you can easily book your tour right now above. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore one of nature’s most spellbinding displays in the company of expert guides from Social Nature Movement.

Bio Tour Questions

  • Are there toilets on site?

    Not at OKURA, please go prior

  • What if we do not see Bioluminescence?

    Fair, you paid for it! But you still get our services and a 'nature' experience, so are welcome to a return trip at half price.

  • Are the kayaks stable and comfortable?

    Very stable, we have never had anyone fall out. They have comfortable foam bum pads and back rests

  • Will I get cold or wet?

    We run our trips during the warmer months and only with 'fair weather' meaning little to no wind and rain, so it is unlikely. You only get wet up to your feet/shins or if you want to swim with the Bioluminescence.

  • Should we eat dinner before the tour?

    Yes, as all our tours start around sunset, which averages around 20:00. Best to eat beforehand then have a little dessert/snack for afterward.

  • What do I need for bioluminescent kayaking?

    To prepare for your Bioluminescence Tour, see our gear list for clothing and equipment you will need.

  • Where can I see bioluminescence in Auckland?

    The East Coast is widely known as the best place to see bioluminescence in Auckland.

  • Where can you see bioluminescence in NZ?

    A lot of the East Coast beaches in the Upper North Island of New Zealand, particularly from Auckland through to the Bay of Islands.

  • When can you see bioluminescence in NZ?

    You are most likely to see Bioluminescence in Auckland during the warmer months from October through to May. We run tours of 2 hours duration, starting at sunset around the high tide.

  • What's the best time to see bioluminescence?

    The best time to see bioluminescence is after sunset when it is absolutely dark with weather of no winds or rain.

  • Can bioluminescence be predicted?

    No but they can be highly presumed. We know the places to be and when to be there, but never is there a guarantee.

  • Is bioluminesence an algae or organism?

    Bioluminesence is a living organism that has chemical reactions causing its glow.

  • What conditions do you need for bioluminescence?

    Ideal conditions for viewing bioluminesence is no wind, no rain, darkness and warm waters.

  • What color is bioluminescence?

    Most bioluminescent organisms in the ocean produce blue-green light, the color that transmits best through ocean water.

  • Who will be my guide / instructor / teacher?

    We select the best staff for the job based on their skills, knolwedge and experiences. They will be an SNM staff member or we will bring in support from equally competent contractors. Sometimes we also bring in (semi)celebrity guests!

Phosphorescence

Phosphorescence is a form of photoluminescence linked to fluorescence. When a shorter wavelength light (radiation) touches phosphorescence, a phosphorescent substance (glow in the dark stickers, sea creatures, etc.) will glow, absorbing the light radiation and reemitting it at as phosphorescence.

Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by living organisms. It is a form of chemiluminescence. Bioluminescence is found in fungi, organisms, fireflies, bacteria, (in)verterates and more. Unlike phosphorescence, photoluminescence and fluorescence that absorb light, Bioluminescence produces its light! 

Luciferin

Luciferin are any organic substances in luminescent organisms. From Latin Lucifer it means "light-bearer", but pruducing almost no heat (it is a cold light). Luciferins undergo enzyme-catalyzed reactions with molecular oxygen. That creates an excited state emitting light. We see it in coelenterazine (found in squid, fish, and shrimp; containing aequorin proteins of blue light emission). So this one is bio-lumin-escence: 'life-light-process'

Photoluminescence

Photoluminescence is light emission from anything after absorping photons (electromagnetic radiation). That could be you or I after an MRI scan! It happens from photoexcitation exciting electrons to a higher energy level atom. It is simply another form of luminescence (light emission).

Chemiluminescence

Chemiluminescence occurs with checmical reactions create an emission of electromagnetic radiation generated by oxidation. That radiation - whether ultraviolet, visible, or infrared - can usually be associated with the oxidation energy transfer to molecules undergoing oxidation. Those molecules then lose excitation energy by emitting proper light wavelengths. Living organisms that luminescence are fireflies and bacteria. So this one is bio-lumin-escence: 'life-light-process'

Luciferase

Luciferase is a light-producing enzyme naturally found in insect fireflies and in luminous marine and terrestrial microorganisms. Very similar to luciferin, but where luciferin is the substrate and luciferase the enzyme. However, luciferase differ because they do not need an external light source, but do require the addition of luciferin, the consumable substrate. So this one is bio-lumin-escence: 'life-light-process'

Fluorescence

Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation. So basically back to phosphorescence; another form of luminescence. We just dont say or spell phosfluorescence, rather phosphorescence. So what is phos- ? It comes from phosphorus: "substance or organism that shines of itself," from Latin phosphorus "light-bringing,".

Thermoluminescence

Thermoluminescence is light emitted from minerals and crystalline materials. It comes from electron displacement of previous high radiation exposure. If heated to atleast about 450° C (842° F), they can reemit those radiation exposures and electron displacements, displaying light.

Dinoflagellates

Dinoflagellates are unicellular marine organisms with two flagella (microscopic hair-like 'whips' for cell locomotion). They produce light when excited (by movement) or scared (predators -  dinoflagellates can produce the worlds most poisonous toxins). It is still contentious whether they are algae or organisms. So this one is bio-lumin-escence: 'life-light-process'

Auckland bioluminescence

Duration: 2 hrs

Experience Bioluminescent Night Cruising. Be one of the few to see this natural phenomenon known as ‘Sea Sparkle’ or ‘Marine Aurora’. This bioluminescence kayak tour in Auckland is an inspiring night paddle.

What are the types of bioluminescence we see?

Dinoflagellate:
This is surface bioluminescence we see the most. Dinoflagellates are diverse single-celled organisms with two flagellas (organelles for bacterial locomotion). ‘Dino-Bio’ serves a vital role in ecosystems, totaling around 2,293 species.

Salps:
Probably the coolest one. Also called “sea grape,” is a barrel-shaped planktonic tunicate that moves by contracting its jelly-like body to pump sea water through. Salps feed on phytoplankton by straining and filtering sea water internally and as a result glows itself and showcases an efficient jet propulsion trail of bioluminescence!

Chaetognatha
Arrow worms, or chaetognaths, are predatory marine worms found globally in plankton (133 species), with some attaching to algae and rocks (this is where we see the rocks and reefs bioluminescencing).

Larvacean:
Larvaceans, also known as appendicularians, are small (2-8mm), transparent, tadpole-shaped tunicates found primarily in the photic zone (top ocean layer).

When is the best time to see bioluminescence?

The best time to see bioluminescence is during warmer weather & water! Peak Auckland bioluminescence season is October-April. Tours are first-come-first-serve, so don’t wait!

The bioluminescence is influenced by the moon as it produces light, thereby complicating the observation process. During the full moon and when the moon has ‘risen’ above the horizon line into the skies, it is less ideal. BUT DON’T WORRY; all of SNM’s dates have either NO moon rises or full moons!

Bioluminescence is like Pandora of “Avatar” and scenes in “Life of Pi”

Escape with us to the most pure and otherworldly experience that natural New Zealand has to offer.

See the plankton glow in the dark from your first paddle stroke on the bioluminescent kayak tour. As the night grows dark, step into your very comfortable kayak and get ready for a personal encounter with this remarkable phenomenon.

Our professional guide will lead you to the best spots where the glowing algae accumulates. You will be enchanted by how every stroke of your paddles leaves behind a glowing swirl of bluish light, and fish light up their path like shooting stars in the water.

Bioluminescent organisms – from shimmering squid to flashing fish – produce light through the oxidation of luciferin catalyzed by luciferase. They glow for various reasons such as repelling predators, attracting mates, or luring prey. Plankton, particularly phytoplankton, also exhibit bioluminescence and play a vital role in marine ecosystems as they drift with ocean currents.

Other things that light up are and .

Marine Heatwaves and Climate Change

Marine heatwaves and climate change can impact bioluminescence positively due to altered ecological conditions, increased nutrient availability, adaptation, shifts in ecosystem dynamics, and changes in symbiotic relationships. This helps SNM forecast our bioluminescence tours due to sea surface temperatures. The rise in ocean temperatures may favor the growth and distribution of bioluminescent organisms, leading to an overall increase in bioluminescence. However, while this phenomenon is noteworthy, it does not outweigh the severe negative consequences of climate change, including ocean acidification, rising sea levels, and biodiversity loss. Efforts to mitigate climate change and protect marine ecosystems are crucial for maintaining a sustainable and balanced environment.

Check out our booking tab, click the book now button or fill an enquiry here.

At night auckland bioluminescence waters come alive in bright glowing hues

The water is often extremely clear giving great views of what is going past under your kayak. Auckland Bioluminescence Night Cruising allows you to experience the magical light show by the smallest of living sea creatures.

Auckland Bioluminescence Kayak Tour Overview

This incredible Auckland bioluminescence tour is peaceful and breathtaking, all at the same time. We don’t let the day end when the sun goes down.

At sunset, we gather for a welcome and our experienced guides give a briefing of the bioluminescence tour. They will equip everyone with suitable life jackets and lead the way to the launch area for the kayaks. They provide help entering the kayaks and giving instructions to those that do not have kayaking experience. Everyone gets to do the tour in their own kayak or a tandem kayak.

It’s like going on a cozy family tour. You stop along the way, where we explain more about the magical glowing water and the marine life in the bay.

We have grown up seeing millions of stars light up the night sky, beautiful, far away and untouchable. Paddling around in a kayak you are virtually floating in the bioluminescence, you trigger the marine light-show with your actions. From the kayak, you can reach into the water and let your hand light up and give the appearance of an Avatar-like character.

Enjoy being part of a small intimate group of kayakers, in an area with very little light pollution, because the darker it is, the better you see the glowing sparks in the water.

What is Bioluminescence?

A lot of marine bioluminescence is called Plankton. Plankton by definition is a “sea drifter” meaning it is at the mercy of the waters and moves with it. We see phytoplankton, because it is autotrophic, meaning an autotroph creates organic compounds, typically using light or chemical reactions for energy.

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by living organisms. It occurs widely in marine (in)vertebrates and micro-organisms and you will likely see it in New Zealand on our Auckland bioluminescence kayak tour. We can break it down as bio-lumin-escence ‘life-light-process’. When the organisms move in the water they create a beautiful glowing effect. This means that you can see fish underwater by the glow that they give off as they swim, your paddle will glow as you maneuver the waterways, and the natural flow of water will illuminate these organisms.

Bioluminesence is not phosphorescence that absorbs and reemits light, it do not produce light.

Bioluminescence is a biological response of microscopic algae/organism of luceferin and luciferase called a dinoflagellate, which is why we coined the term ”dino bio”. The perfectly natural and harmless concentration of organisms produces light before your very eyes, often existing in millions per liter of water. Your tour will include a ton of information about these rare and exotic creatures with the most experienced guides in the area.

In the warm and dark lagoon waters lies a natural phenomenon of glowing blue waters alive with activity. The swirling of your hand, every paddle stroke, and the rolling wake off of your kayak all sparkle throughout the darkness. Many guests encounter the darting blue tracer trails of nearby fish swimming, describing them as an under-water laser light show.

Many guests compare the experience to Pandora of “Avatar.” Some even recall the bioluminescence scene in “Life of Pi” as the gentle plankton leave a trickling glow when you hold it in your hands and let it trickle down your arm.

An Ocean Full of Stars – Bioluminescent Algae: their ecosystems are very rare, often found in warm-water lagoons with narrow openings to the sea. These living lights in the ocean, you can experience right here with us.

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