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“Different way to experience Franz Josef”
Review of Okarito Kayaks

Okarito Kayaks
Ranked #2 of 6 things to do in Okarito
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: 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!
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 23 March 2017

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 sufficient. Spend time exploring the rivers.

Thank 354juner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"self guided"
in 8 reviews
"dry bags"
in 7 reviews
"white heron"
in 13 reviews
"double kayak"
in 6 reviews
"life jackets"
in 4 reviews
"black swans"
in 4 reviews
"excellent coffee"
in 4 reviews
"kayaking trip"
in 4 reviews
"great kayaking"
in 4 reviews
"franz josef"
in 6 reviews
"southern alps"
in 6 reviews
"off the beaten track"
in 4 reviews
"half day trip"
in 3 reviews
"carrot cake"
in 3 reviews
"safety briefing"
in 3 reviews
"hot drinks"
in 3 reviews
"the staff were great"
in 3 reviews

21 - 25 of 112 reviews

Reviewed 19 March 2017

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 personality than a game show host and made the whole experience delightful. Neither my wife or I are experienced kayakers so the patience of our host helped, particularly at the end when they took us into a trickier area to see a waterfall. This proved a bit uncomfortable navigating the boat.

The highlight was a family of Black Swans, goslings in tow, that were beautiful to watch, even at a distance.

With the heavy rains they had the week before, water levels were high which made the lagoon ideal for our kayaks and the sky was cloudless by this time – so nearly perfect.

Where it proved very disappointing for us was the lunch that was provided at the boat house cafe – some tragic egg thing served that was borderline polyurethane and a salad only suitable for rabbits or guinea pigs. Great hospitality and the Lattes and cookies helped take the edge off lunch bag let down, but were extra. Otherwise, almost perfect.

Thank Ric R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2017

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 wildlife. Make sure you follow the marks as you will high center the kayak if you don't. We paddled up a bay and then into a river, about 3 miles and the scenery was beautiful! There was coffee, tea, and a light snack afterward supplied by the outfitter. The tidal current is pretty strong coming back, so aim toward the inland side of the dock.

Thank Ron T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2017

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 and we had an amazing time out on the water. Thanks for a great afternoon!

Thank NflashG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 February 2017

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 adjusted footboards. No birdlife seen either. Expected a great day, so a disappointment.

Thank gm175
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OkaritoKayaks, Baz, your kayak setter-upper that day at Okarito Kayaks, responded to this reviewResponded 20 February 2017

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 - if I had known you weren't comfortable with the position I could have changed these very easily for you. I did though take 50 minutes, from when you arrived to launching you on the water, to go through a very thorough safety and navigational briefing, gear set up, paddle technique and kayak fitting, so am a bit puzzled by your comment on a rushed set up and briefing. Again, if I had known you felt rushed, I maybe could have helped you further. I did take questions and asked if everyone understood several times through that briefing. Even as I drove your group back to town and asked about your day, there was no indication you had not enjoyed your trip out on the lagoon. If I've let you down here, I am sorry - we can help if you let us know at the time, but not afterwards I guess. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip around the South anyway. Baz.

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