This article originally appeared in SUP Magazine. Photos and words by Johny Cook.

New Zealand is a place filled with beauty and one of the best ways to see it is from the water.

How could you not want to paddle here? Photo: Johny Cook

All of my paddling has been done on the South Island and although it can have great summers, the weather changes drastically regardless of the season.

Summer is definitely a good time to hit the water but the lakes can be deceiving in how warm they look. This isn't to say winter is a bad time but you'll want to trade those shorts and t-shirt for a wetsuit.

Never ignore changing weather conditions. Photo: Johny Cook

While I use my own boards, its good to know that there are various rental opportunities dotted around some of the most iconic and scenic spots.

Queenstown, Lake Wanaka, Dunedin, Christchurch, Abel Tasman and most recently Lake Tekapo all have rental companies. More rental companies are popping up regularly as the popularity of paddleboarding continues to grow.

Paddling in New Zealand is filled with sights like this. Photo: Johny Cook

Most lake areas in New Zealand will have a campsite if you want to be close to the water. While some of these are paid, many are free.

Nothing beats camping for free in a golden paradise. Photo: Johny Cook

A great app for checking out local sites is Camper Mate, which pinpoints campgrounds on a map. Always make sure to check where you are camping, as some spots incur a fine if used incorrectly.

Fines are bad, lakes like this are quite the opposite. Photo: Johny Cook

Our short paddle trip back in January consisted of 10 lakes in 6 days. We hit both the local tourist water spots and some of the lesser-known areas that we had to ourselves.

We did learn, however, to check the names of places. Lake Oahu translates to "windy place" and the water looked more suited for surfing than a paddle.

One more reason to book a trip to New Zealand. Photo: Johny Cook

Nevertheless, New Zealand is a land of opportunity for paddlers of all experience levels.

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