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Review Highlights
Exhilarating, scenic lake, mountain and river day trip deep into Southland’s extra special natural, beech forest.

Awesome day trip in the middle of winter with Wairaurahiri Jet - fantastic communication with Joyce... read more

Reviewed 8 July 2021
racheljO5618NO
A MUST on your list-Exceptional area in our country

This was a stunning day for us. We drove to the Hauroko Lake and were greeted by Johan. We lucked... read more

Reviewed 10 May 2021
Margaret E
,
Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand
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Reviewed 31 December 2015

We arrived at the boat ramp and were kitted out with life jackets and wet weather gear after an interesting drive from Lumsden. The trip across the lake can be exciting as the wind can get up, however Johan is a confident and experienced jet boat driver so just enjoy the thrill. The trip down the river is both fun and interesting. Johan takes the time to explain environmental issues both regarding feral animal problems (checking the stoat traps, which can be sponsored) and the environmental history and ecology of the area.
Arriving at the mouth of the river into the Southern Ocean is an amazing experience! Near here we had a tasty lunch at a small lodge in the wilderness.
There was time for bush walking and fishing or just sitting soaking up the atmosphere whatever one wished to do. The return trip was just as fun and interesting going back up the river. Don't forget to take warm clothes and a hat that fits firmly or is tied on especially if you have no hair (my husband lost his beanie/cap combination!).

Date of experience: December 2015
Thank Gail P
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 23 December 2015

The trip is everything the reviews tell you. The drive from Manapouri was easier than going up to Milford Sound, passing through interesting countryside. The small unsealed section of road was in good condition and not a problem. Despite a rainy start the supplied jackets kept us dry and the heated handrails were bliss, and by the time we hit the river things had cleared. Once on the water we never saw another soul, but we did see wildlife such as a long-tail cuckoo being chased by a tui and a deer we disturbed as it came down to the river to drink. Johan's commentary complemented what we saw without sounding like a lecture. The teenage boys found the lunch superb and were encouraged to go back for more, while Mum's rock specimens collected from the coast were allowed aboard with so much as a raised eyebrow. Quite simply, nothing could've been done better.

Date of experience: December 2015
Thank kadokkadok
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 10 December 2015 via mobile

Great thumbs up to Johan and Joyce of wairaurahiri jet boats
Great ride on the lake and river to the sea
Wonderful bush lunch and walks great to see you catered to others fishing need as well
Cool little walk over the swing bridge
A great full day trip beats Queenstown any day
Keep up the great experience

Date of experience: December 2015
Thank debbie r
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
justjuice, Owner at Wairaurahiri Jet, responded to this reviewResponded 12 December 2015

Hi,
Thanks for your kind words.
Johan enjoys showing off his great piece of paradise.

Enjoy your holidays.

Wairaurahiri Jet
Joyce and Johan

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2015

Wherever you are in Southland this is quite a long trip to get to, but well worth the journey. We met Johan at the lakeside on a rather dull morning and he handed out waterproof coveralls for those who hadn't managed to bring suitable waterproof clothing and we boarded the jet boat. It's not the most exciting trip across the lake, especially if it's a bit cold and dull but Johan gave us enough entertainment and info to keep us happy. By the time we got to the river the weather had brightened up and the real fun began.
Hurtling down the rapids in front of twin Lexus V8 engines burbling away, swerving this way and that, bouncing here and there is about as much fun as you can have on water and still remain absolutely safe and (relatively) dry. With occasional stops for updates on the wildlife, the area and checking stoat traps it was a totally exhilarating experience.
We stopped at the sea and beached for a short walk up to Waitutu lodge where Johan cooked a great barbeque lunch and we stretched our legs (and took advantage of toilet facilities).
After a suitable break we headed back up river for the return trip, which was no less fun than the downhill run. Only when we were half way back across the lake did the wind get a bit fierce and those on the windward side did get a fair amount of splashing, and as we were hanging on to the grab rails in front of us we were very happy that they were heated.
If you think this trip is only for fit and able youngsters think again, my wife and I are both pensioners with some mobility issues and we coped well enough and had a total blast. Go and support Johan in his valuable conservation work and have a great time too.

Date of experience: October 2015
Thank manofekent
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 12 April 2015

Following a 30km drive down a windy unsealed road we were met at the Lake car park by Johan. He took 8 of us across the Lake in what appeared to be a basic speed boat. He handed out wooly hats and splash jackets to anyone who wanted them. (I advise you to accept). When we reached the river he put his foot down. It was amazing. We zig zagged down river for 30km at fantastic speeds over the very shallow rocky river avoiding boulders and trees, occasionally bouncing off a protruding rock. It was the most exhilarating, exciting experience I have ever had on water. Johan was very skilful and had a dry humour. When we reached the sea we turned round, beached and had a brilliant barbecue at the Lodge. We then trecked through the forest for a short while, crossed a swing bridge and re boarded the boat which then returned at high speed, thankfully back to the Lake. At each of the short stops Johan, in his gentle, humorous manner told us the history and geography of the area and of his huge passion of trying to protect NZs birds by trapping stoats. This was our best experience in NZ and I would thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone.

Date of experience: February 2015
3  Thank jackiebD6544KZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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