kayaks@okarito.co.nz +64 3 753 4014
Sorry - we’re closed this week for a mid-winter family break; back open on 22nd July 2024

About Us

Okarito Kayaks base

About us

Okarito Kayaks are a small, family business, owned and operated by Gemma and Baz, who are in turn owned and operated by our seven year old daughter Rowan and five year old son Josh.

We have a small and very talented team helping out over the summer, but deliberately choose to remain a small business, not seeking growth, to fit and compliment the quiet, peaceful nature of our town and community.

Okarito Kayaks has been renting kayaks and guiding travellers on Ōkārito Lagoon for over thirty years; over that time, the business has supported three generations of owners, all local people.

There’ll likely be a fourth young family looking after the place sometime in the future; we’re just the guardians of the business, for now.

Coffee at Ōkārito

Our home

Ōkārito is a remote, quiet and unspoilt township, with about 40 permanent residents throughout the year.

Turning off the main highway down the side road leading out to the coast always felt like coming home for us – we’ve been visiting Ōkārito since about 2007, and were lucky enough to take on the kayak business from our friends Edwina and Rich in 2014.

GorseBusters volunteers

What we do

We are fortunate to have lived and worked in over twenty countries round the world, before choosing to bring up our young family here.

We live about 3oo metres down the road from the kayak shop, and you’ll find us here at the the kayak shop, working away pretty much every day – we’re open year round.

We spending most of our time on the water guiding kayakers to show them what’s special about this place, or brewing great espresso coffee, or cleaning kayaks, or looking after the grounds of the kayak shop – there’s always a job to do.

Come and say hi.

All owners of Okarito Kayaks over the last thirty years
Okarito Kayaks family business

And, why we do it

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

It’s rare to have visitors to our town not comment on the natural beauty of the place and sense of peace and community of the town 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.

We moved to this remote place basically because of a deep love of the natural environment.

So, it’s natural for us to do everything we can to look after this place, and to leave it better than we found it for our kids that we’re fortunate enough to raise here.

Genuine environmental guardianship is built into our business, from our core values.


Experience New Zealand’s largest unmodified wetland

Soak up this stunning natural environment. Hire a kayak to independently explore these ancient waterways at your own pace or let one of our experienced guides take you on an intimate tour through pristine wilderness.

Options available for all ages and any fitness level.

Contact us today