Exactly a year ago we were dirt tracking down to the jetty ahead of what was the most amazing boat ride we’ve had - ever!!
We had travelled down the west coast from glorious 3 days in Golden Bay, through Punakaiki and Okarito so we were well primed for the experience we had with you. But the weather had turned and by the time we down got to Wanaka and Te Anau, Milford Sound was washed out and you had to postpone for a day. Luckily we got a break and were able to go the next day and we treasure that whole day out with you. Ah!! - the weather - and all a bit like our homeland Wales - Fiordland is a special place of dreamlike mountain/river/woodland and sea scenery - and rain!! We so enjoyed our trip with Johan and it set us up for the 3 days we spent on Stewart Island. What you’re doing is so important to eco-tourism and our trip tells us NZ is a leader.
Put this on your top ten things to experience in New Zealand.
An exhilarating ride across the deepest lake in New Zealand, Lake Hauroko then down the Wairaurahiri river out to sea was one of the top things I have ever experienced in New Zealand. I was nervous at first thinking it could jar my back, but not even a tiny bit. If you have a back issue, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. The skill of Johan is mind blowing. The ride is broken by a very short walk into the most exquisite moss and fern covered grotto like area in the bush. You would swear you were on a Peter Jackson film set. Then on down to the open sea where we walked a small distance to the Lodge where we were greeted with a cheese board and wine, followed by a lunch where Johan cooked up a tasty bbq of venison, patties and sausages, accompanied by salad and fresh bread . We were blessed with a superb clear warm day which always adds to the occasion. This experience is not to be missed and should be added to the top ten things to do in New Zealand.
Outstanding Jet Boat day trip with thrills, fantastic scenery and local knowledge. Don’t leave this one off your must do list even if weather is less than perfect. Good views and rides from all seats in the boat - thank you Johan for a truly memorable day.
Wrap up warm (even in summer) and zoom into one of the most ancient forests of Aotearoa/NZ. Most of the trip down the Wairaurahiri River was zipping and skimming in Johan's powerful jet boat. However, there are two opportunities to get off the boat and walk through primordial, thick Waitutu Forest of tall trees, lush mosses and huge ferns. Just to stand in that dim peacefulness and soak in the quiet of an older world is worth the trip alone. Back in the boat for some thrilling Grade 3 rapids before the river bursts out of the bush at the very bottom of the South Island. The wind-tossed waves of the Foveaux Strait loom dead ahead. We don't take on the waves. Instead, Johan cruises gently to a quiet beach at the river mouth. We disembark and amble an easy walk to Waitutu Lodge. There were more treats in store. Cheese, crackers, wine and a delicious BBQ of venison, sausages and yummy salads. There's time for one more amble through the bush and a trot over a swing bridge before we're back in the jet boat for the ride back up the river. The day had warmed up and the sun glinted on the glorious crimson rata flowers that glowed in the green bush. It was still cold, though, and we were grateful for the warm hand rails so thoughtfully provided in the boat. Johan is a careful and considerate skipper. The Wairaurahiri River is in remote Fiordland and Johan checks in with his operations base at various points while on the river. Should any mishap occur and he failed to check in at the appointed time, then help will soon be on its way and to the right point of the river. However, mishap or misjudgement is unlikely. Johan provides a thrilling ride but not at the expense of safety.
Recommended by Auckland friends. Three of us - one from Tapanui and 2 from Nelson -did this trip with Johan who was very knowledgeable and passionate about the area, and his job. Also he is very skilled at driving the jet boat down the river. Was most exhilarating, especially going down the Wairaurahiri river which is like non stop shallow rapids. On the way back we had a full boat, as a large group had been staying at the Waitutu Lodge where we had a wonderful BBQ/salad meal prepared by Johan. Loved the walk back to the local swing bridge, accompanied by Tess the caretaker's dog. Take sand-fly repellent, as there are many sandflies. We made a few stops on our way to the lodge and the nicest would be the stand of native bush that we saw. I have never seen anything so luscious and thick. The undergrowth was amazing. You can stay in the lodge for $50 pp pn or hire it out in its entirety. That would be an amazing experience. Highly recommend seeing this unique part of the world.
We had such an incredible day yesterday! Wow!
We are all buzzing! Johan was so amazing! Haven’t had such a good feed in a long time! ( if ever!) Thanks. And hopefully get to meet you next time!
What an amazing way to see some of the most beautiful scenery in New Zealand! The jet boat ride down the river was very exciting and one of the highlights of our whole trip down South. We spent the night a Waitutu Forest Lodge which was a great experience. A warm comfortable lodge in an area you wouldn’t easily see otherwise. The rata was in bloom which made it extra special. Thank you, Johan for a wonderful trip.
If you get a chance this is a 'must do' NZ Adventure. Incredible wilderness, thrilling jet boat ride, fantastic hospitality. We stayed 2 nights at Waitutu Lodge, hosted by the lovely Pete and Rose, as well. This is some of the most remote, untouched, wilderness on earth and with Johan as your guide you are in safe hands. His easy southern hospitality belies the high skill and professionalism of his operation. Moments of high adrenaline when flying down rapids are matched with peaceful moments in the forest learning about the unique environment here. An amazing family adventure that I cant praise highly enough.
What an amazing way to see a special part of Fiordland. We had 10 family members go on the 6 hour day experience down the Wairaurahiri river while celebrating a family birthday. While I had been down numerous times and knew it would be a great day, others in the family had never experienced such a trip. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day, even those who thought they wouldn't. Johan and Joyce certainly do an amazing job of the whole experience. We learnt about the history and biodiversity of the area, and had a huge mouth watering lunch. As an added bonus 4 of our party had a trip to the Percy burn viaduct and back with Dale Green from Heli my way. This was something the 4 had really wanted to do. Dale is an excellent pilot and always happy to make it happen for people. I would definitely recommend both the Wairauahiri jet and Heli my way. If anyone has not seen the heart of Fiordland these are must do trips.