Who are these people?

Okarito Kayaks is run by Gemma and Baz (us!), with Bekey, Karl and Simon helping out over the summer. We had been visiting Okarito since 2007 before taking on the kayaking operation in 2014 from our friends Rich, Ed and Monty. We renamed the business, from Okarito Nature Tours, to Okarito Kayaks, in 2016. Pretty much everything else about the place we wanted to keep as it is – it’s why we came here in the first place.

Okarito Nature Tours began life back in 1991, from the garden of Ian James and Debbie’s house at the west end of the Okarito village. Offering kayak trips out to see the famous and rare Kotuku/White Heron on the Lagoon, and over time, adding boat trips and transport in and out of Franz Josef, the business has always been locally owned and operated. Ian and Debbie still come by for coffee.

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Our environmental and social policy

We’re a small business, operating in a really precious environment, both ecologically and socially. It’s rare to have visitors to our village not comment on the natural beauty of the place and sense of peace and community of the village itself. So we feel we have a tremendous responsibility to do everything we can to support that, without changing the very thing that we and our visitors appreciate so much about our area.

Sustainability is a fashionable and often used word, but it basically sums up what we want our small business to be. Our impact here at Okarito Kayaks should be positive to our natural environement and social surrounds. So giving people the chance to experience and learn about, and therefore value, the fantastic wetlands and forests at our doorstep, without damaging in any way the places they are exploring. And providing employment, a social resource for the village and support for local businesses through our commercial activity. READ MORE

Our stories

Our Environmental and Social Policy

We’re a small business, operating in a really precious environment, both ecologically and socially.... READ MORE

Who is Okarito Kayaks?

Okarito Kayaks is run by Gemma and Baz (us!), with Bekey, Karl and Simon... READ MORE

Okarito Village and History

The village is nestled between the Tasman Sea, Okarito Lagoon and the rugged lowlands... READ MORE

Welcome to Okarito

The town of Okarito began life in the gold rush years of the mid... READ MORE