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Okarito Kayaks

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Okarito, New Zealand
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About Okarito Kayaks
Kayaking on Okarito Lagoon, New Zealand's largest unmodified coastal wetland. Guided tours and freedom rental. Excellent birdwatching and amazing mountain views. Paddle through the Okarito River Delta that leads deep into the rainforest.Our kayaks are safe, stable sea kayaks. Prior experience is not necessary and full instruction is given.Okarito is a quaint coastal village backdropped by the Southern Alps, only 20 minutes drive from Franz Josef Glacier, and has the best coffee in town!
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Okarito Kayaks
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Resort723298 wrote a review 19 Jan
King's Lynn, United Kingdom21 contributions2 helpful votes
I came across this place by chance after a drive to the beach. Baz and his wife are lovely and gave me some great tips about both the lagoon, and places to go on my ongoing drive. Would recommend to anyone!
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Date of experience: January 2021
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Inspire09324258666 wrote a review 15 Jan
4 contributions1 helpful vote
Kayaking Okarito lagoon is a great experience for all who enjoy bush, birds and tranquility. We got a cloudy day but on a good one you also get great views to the Alps. Take the 4 hour/half day tour...it was worth it to get into the waterways/ channels where we had close encounters with white herons and spoonbills as well as other waders and bush birds. Okarito kayaks explain the best route, give you a map and great advice and instruction. Their markers out on the lagoon made it easy to find the good spots. A very professional and friendly team. The gear was good and the free tea/coffee at the end a bonus. Put it on your bucket list!
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Date of experience: January 2021
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Response from OkaritoKayaks, Guide, kayak cleaner, coffee-sampler and home-baking quality controller at Okarito Kayaks
Responded 1 week ago
Great, thanks heaps guys. Sorry the clouds didn't part; autumn's probably the best time of year for clear skies. Been pretty good this year so far though. Glad you enjoyed the place, and appreciate you taking the time to support us. Cheers, Baz
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Peter W wrote a review 12 Jan
Christchurch, New Zealand1 contribution
Beautiful place. Poor service starting with one of the owners literally taking the insect repellent off me, searching it’s packaging for a particular ingredient, then letting us know we can collect it when we leave. This was after parking in the carpark (appropriately) alongside another car, and then being asked to move the cars by the other owner who wanted a wider turning bay (not a big deal). Then the prices. I thought $60 for a kayak for 2 hours was steep, but okay. Then found out this was per person, so opted for my teenagers to go, but I wouldn’t with my 3 year old. Instead I thought a 5minute paddle with one of his brothers would be a good option. Got him fitted with a life jacket (v helpful) but when I got down to the lagoon was told in no uncertain terms that this wouldn’t be okay, that it would mean (due to health and safety) that he would have to wait 5 minutes to supervise, and he did not have time. Overall he was pretty rude, and unfortunately I wasn’t too pleased in response. Not a great experience. But I do think it is a beautiful place and our experiences were probably not indicative of what usually happens for people.
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Date of experience: January 2021
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Response from OkaritoKayaks, Owner at Okarito Kayaks
Responded 1 week ago
Peter On arrival, your family group told us you had two adult kayakers and five kids under 18, with a few of those kids good, strong teenagers. At that time, we assess your group’s fitness to kayak safely and enjoyably based on the information you provide, in the conditions at the time, and then brief you in detail about where you’re going and what to expect. We make sure we, and you, can manage the hazards you might face based on the information you give us, and we always have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure you’re safe . This works great for all the young families we enable to get out and enjoy the lagoon ; this is one of the very few places in the country young families can rent kayaks to explore, because we’ve put time and thought and systems into place to make sure our kayakers and safe and well-looked after. This relies on our kayakers being reasonable enough to communicate their needs with us so we can find solutions for them. To be clear, after your discussing with us who was kayaking, after our assessing your whole group’s suitability for the conditions, and our briefing your family so we and you would know what you were doing and where you were going, you decided to change your mind about who was going and what you wanted, and then didn’t tell us clearly until we reached the water’s edge. You then thought that shouting across to us at the waters edge whilst we focused on getting the remaining members of your family group prepared, that you could just sign some sort of waiver to go and do what you want, would be appropriate. You clearly don’t know much about the hazards for kayaking here, or what is involved with their management, or the laws and rules that kayak companies work under. That’s quite OK - that’s our job to manage. All you need to be is honest with us about what you want to do, so we can then usually work out a safe and easy way to get what you want. This works well for everyone else. You’ve chose not to act that way, and judging by your behaviour and the rest of your comments, I have to presume you already had a chip on your shoulder after being stopped from spraying insecticide-based insect repellent around a small shop that serves food, were asked to move your vehicle (if it’s not a big deal for you, why mention it?), and felt that we charge too much for our service. Hard not to bite on your comment regarding prices. They’re clearly borne from ignorance as to what it takes to run a business, especially this business. Best brief comment would be that this business has likely never turned a true profit in thirty-odd years of operation; on a good year it pays us a reasonable wage for our work, and for the next two years, it will pay our family nothing despite working seven days a week. Still, everyone on social media’s an expert, right? You comment your experience is not indicative of what normally happens. Absolutely right. We’re lucky to have the vast majority of our kayakers act reasonably and discuss their needs with us, and behave in a manner respectful of others around them. We work well with our visitors to provide what we, and they also seem to think, is a great experience, and are really proud this is a place young Kiwi families can still get out on the water, despite an increasingly restrictive and risk-averse regulatory environment. However, if we have people expect to arrive and just do whatever they wish without discussing with us, or behave in a manner that negatively affects others around them, it’s fair to say their experience will be much the same as yours. There’s lot more I could say – and it could have been said much more constructively if you had taken the time to come and talk to us after we got the rest of your family out on the water, to try to find a solution, but instead you chose not to and instead to just comment from your keyboard – but if this isn’t enough for you, try looking up Maritime NZ’s rules on kayak hire, WorkSafe NZ’s regulation around our responsibilities, and then think about how we bend over backwards to make sure reasonable people can still take their young families kayaking here. Whilst you’re still on the computer, see if you can find anywhere other hospitality business in the country that welcomes you spraying DEET around inside their premises, and then perhaps start planning out a business plan for renting kayaks at the cost you think you should be paying. Good luck with all that. Cheers Baz
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Ian and Annie Wallace wrote a review 3 Jan
2 contributions
Fantastic experience. Forests so special and birds too! Well prepared for the adventure with the best places to visit. Thank you!
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Date of experience: January 2021
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Response from OkaritoKayaks, Guide, kayak cleaner, coffee-sampler and home-baking quality controller at Okarito Kayaks
Responded 3 weeks ago
Thanks Ian and Annie; good to meet you guys and pleased you enjoyed the paddle. Thanks heaps for supporting us, and the review. Cheers, Baz.
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Bridget M wrote a review Dec 2020
1 contribution
What a great way to spend some time in Okarito. Such peaceful surrounds and finally saw a spoonbill. Incredibly friendly and professional people running this experience. Totally recommend.
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Date of experience: December 2020
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Response from OkaritoKayaks, Guide, kayak cleaner, coffee-sampler and home-baking quality controller at Okarito Kayaks
Responded 3 weeks ago
Thanks Bridget - for the nice review, and the support, really appreciated. Enjoying the great weather over here and kayakers coming through enjoying our wee place; fantastic to see Kiwi's out making the most out of their backyard. Happy New Year! Cheers, Baz
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