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Address: 1 The Strand, Okarito 7856, New Zealand (Formerly Okarito Nature Tours)
Phone Number:
0800 652 748
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours

Kayaking on Okarito Lagoon, New Zealand's largest unmodified coastal...

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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 89 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 75
  • 8
    Very good
  • 3
  • 0
  • 0
Different way to experience Franz Josef

Different way to experience Franz Josef. Our family of four had a great time paddling and even saw the rare white heron. Staff careful to schedule you based on tide and weather... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
June R
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89 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 86: English reviews
Level Contributor
19 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Different way to experience Franz Josef. Our family of four had a great time paddling and even saw the rare white heron. Staff careful to schedule you based on tide and weather conditions -- paddling in can be challenging if the wind picks up. Ample instruction and navigational guidance. Scheduled half day trip but 2 hour option would have been... More 

Thank June R
Oakville, Canada
Level Contributor
34 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

As part of New Zealand Trails Heritage Hiking Tour we arrived at Okarito Kayaks for an afternoon adventure. It had been a rainy morning on the drive there and none of us were looking forward to paddling around the Okarito Lagoon. The weather turned for the better just as we arrived and all was good. Our guide Simon had more... More 

Thank ricriordon
Cotopaxi, Colorado
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

We had a great safety briefing before we launched. They suggested a skirt, but I declined. Do take one as you will get wet otherwise. The sand flies are pretty vicious on shore, so have repellent. They also have a natural repellent they let you use. The paddle was in a bird preserve, and we saw may birds, but no... More 

Thank Ron T
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We were really impressed by Okarito kayaks! Baz (hopefully that's the right spelling!) was really friendly and gave us a great introduction to the lagoon and what we might see, as well as carefully going over the routes and the wind/tide conditions so we knew what to expect and how to stay safe. The equipment was all in great condition... More 

Thank NflashG
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

we were part of a 12 person group on a lovely day weather-wise (apparently rare this summer!). The Southern Alps looked beautiful and the lagoon itself peaceful and calm. As first time kayakers, however, the set up and briefing was rushed and we were uncomfortable throughout the trip (and backache lasted the rest of the day ..) due to improperly... More 

Thank gm175
OkaritoKayaks, Baz, your kayak setter-upper that day at Okarito Kayaks, responded to this review

Hey, we're very sorry you felt rushed and improperly set up. To adjust your footrests is just a ten second exercise, and I set these up, with you there in the kayak at the time, in a position we find works best for kayakers to support their back. I talked to you about this position as we did this -... More 

Hertford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
152 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 February 2017

This is an extremely well run small operation. Baz gave us a friendly greeting when we were making our initial enquiries about what was on offer. We opted for the 2 hr self guided trip in double kayaks and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. The pre-trip briefing was excellent in terms of safety and the route and also in terms of... More 

Thank robinhbishop
OkaritoKayaks, General everything person at Okarito Kayaks, responded to this review

Thanks Robin!!! Really appreciate the review, and I enjoyed getting you guys out there - glad you had fun; good on you for getting out paddling! Enjoy the rest of your trip. Baz More 

Los Altos, California
Level Contributor
105 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 February 2017

We did the three-hour (red) self-guided trail. There were nice bird views in the main lagoon and then there were beautiful and secluded views along the narrow inlets. The directions could be a bit easier to follow, so look at the map carefully before you start. Some of the channels are also pretty narrow, which require some detailed maneuvering. However,... More 

Thank ChessHiker
OkaritoKayaks, Kayak helper at Okarito Kayaks, responded to this review

Cheers for the review ChessHiker - glad you enjoyed your kayak up the lagoon. There's a range of routes and channels in the lagoon that suit different abilities - we're lucky that much of the lagoon, in most conditions, is suitable for novices and families, but there's some neat hidden rainforest channels that are great to explore if you have... More 

Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 January 2017 via mobile

We did the overnight kayak hire - exploring the gorgeous okarito lagoon and its channels the first day and then paddling out to our very own camping spot on the wild and stunning west coast. If you are travelling in the South Island, are the adventurous kind, and like to find the hidden treasures, then I can recommend the overnight... More 

Thank John E
OkaritoKayaks, Paddle helper at Okarito Kayaks, responded to this review

Hey, stoked you, Mandy and Kier visited and got out adventuring! Overnighting on the lagoon is a pretty special trip; it's not one we suggest to everyone as you need to be pretty self-sufficient out there but there's few better places in the world to watch the sunset on a remote beach with the Southern Alps laid out behind you.... More 

New South Wales, Australia
Level Contributor
253 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2017

Okarito Kitchen cafe was lovely and quirky building with interesting toilet! Staff nice, coffee and sausage rolls really good. BUT - the sand flies inside crawling all over the windows inside and outside the building were so horrendous that I would not want to stop again! As for going canoeing forget it unless your skin is like leather!

1 Thank Shootingstars R
OkaritoKayaks, Manager at Okarito Kayaks, responded to this review

Thanks for the positive comments on the coffee and food guys, nice to hear - but we're pretty disappointed you've commented so negatively on an activity you didn't partake in and don't seem to have a great deal of knowledge about. We're not trying to be rude, but we kayak, rather than canoe here - and yes, whilst we and... More 

Level Contributor
37 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 January 2017

I went as part of a group and while the weather was raining, we still enjoyed a lovely 3-4 hour self guided tour. We saw the heron, tuis, and other birds in a peaceful setting. Everyone was helpful and clearly passionate about what they do. It was pouring rain when we came in and they had prepared coffee and tea... More 

Thank gtpamlin1
OkaritoKayaks, Paddle helper at Okarito Kayaks, responded to this review

Some great West Cast weather then!!! Hey, good on you for getting out and exploring regardless of the weather - we reckon if you tog up in rainjackets then you're invincible anyway; the rainforest channels you paddle up need that rain too!! There's a beautiful calm mood sometimes to the lagoon and wetlands when the sun is hidden, and the... More 

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San Francisco, California
2 months ago

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Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
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