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FAQs

KAYAK TOURS

What if it’s raining on my kayak tour?

Like true west coasters – we get out kayaking rain or shine! Rain is the main ingredient in our beautiful temperate rainforest. Lake Mapourika often remains dry while it is raining in town due to being a greater distance from the Southern Alps. We provide full wet weather gear (jackets and pants) to keep you warm and dry on your kayak tour.

What should I wear / bring?

For our Kayak Tours please bring: A snack, a water-bottle, camera (if you want your own photos as well as our FREE photos), sunglasses and sunscreen. We recommend no denim, just comfortable pants and footwear.
On SUP tours please pack a towel and/or bring your swimwear.  If you’d like to bring a small snack along, feel free. There’s no where to eat while you’re out on any of our tours.  Though there’s plenty of restaurants, cafes and small supermarket in Franz Josef township near our office.  

We provide: FREE kayak tour photos, dry bags, jackets/wet weather gear, sunscreen and insect repellent.  On our Kayak & Walk tour we also provide a cup of tea/coffee on the tour. 

How old do children need to be?

If they fit our life jackets, they can come along on our kayak tours!  We can often run shortened tours for families with children under 3 years old, simply get in touch with the team. Otherwise, most children 4 years old and up can happily join any of our Kayak Classic or Kayak & Walk tours!  We do always recommend the morning trip times when booking with young children as this is the calmest time of day for kayaking.

I can’t swim! Is this OK?

You do not need to know how to swim to join our kayak tours. This a very common question we receive. We will fit you with a PFD suitable for your size. Our guides are trained and qualified in all aspects of paddling instruction and your safety on the water. Our company is Safety Audited through Adventuremark NZ. It’s extremely unlikely that you might end up in the water.

Is there a weight limit for the kayak tour?

We do not have a weight limit for our kayak tours, generally speaking we can take most people out that ask us this question.  If you’re concerned, please email us in advance or feel free to stop in to the office and we can have you sit in the kayak to see if it’s comfortable.  If you feel comfortable in our stable, commercial double sea kayaks you should be fine a tour.

Will I see the glacier on my kayak tour?

On a clear day we can see many different Glaciers on our kayak tours from Lake Mapourika, including the Neve of the Franz Josef Glacier.  The Southern Alps and Glaciers are magnificent to view afar from the lake as you will see a panoramic vista of the regions Glaciers and even Mt Cook and Tasman.

If the clouds are lower in the valley, then we will not see the Glaciers – but this really doesn’t matter as the primary focus of our tours is the lush rainforest and learning about the conservation and Lake Mapourika.  Mirror lake reflections are often really dramatic when it’s cloudy.  As we navigate our kayaks deep into the rainforest it’s truly stunning – and even comes to life – in the rain!

Can I have a single kayak?

We do at times allow customers to use single kayaks, but we cannot guarantee this at the time of booking.  The decision made about whether a customer can use a single is made by the guide on the day based on the weather forecast, lake conditions and group sizes as well as other factors such as our boat availability on the day.  We cannot guarantee, but if you’re really keen for a single kayak please let us know in your booking and we promise to do our best to fulfill this wish!  In order to enhance your chances of good “single kayak weather”, book a morning tour! 

What's the best time of day to kayak?

As a general rule, we recommend the morning tours for the best “mirror lake reflections” which is pretty hard to beat!However, during the autumn and winter the lake is often calm and mirrored all day long.  During the summer months (from November 1st  to March 31st) you can book our evening sunset kayak tours which is a magical time of day to be on the water.

The best time of day for a swim is our midday kayak tours in the summer-time!  Yes, you can swim and the lake is often above 20 degrees Celcius from Dec-March annually. 

Wheelchair accessibility for kayak tours?

We’re often asked if our kayak tours are wheelchair accessible, and the short answer is no.  However we have modified tours in the past to allow some people with wheelchair disabilities to join us on tour.  We have an added back support seat we can install in the kayak for you, as long as your comfortable to transfer between the chair and kayak seat. (Our staff are more than happy to assist!)

We do no have wheelchair accessible transport vehicles so you would need to provide your own transport to the lake.

It won’t work for everyone but if you think this sounds like something you could try, please contact our team. 

Can I kayak while pregnant?

Yes you can come kayaking with us if you’re pregnant. As long as you are comfortable and if you’re concerned speaking with your doctor first is recommended.  We do recommend that all participants understand the risk associated with our adventure activity. Read these inherent risks here. 

Do we kayak TO the Glacier?

No, our kayak and boat tours do not head towards the Franz Josef Glacier.  They take place on Lake Mapourika, which sits in the Franz Josef Glacier valley however it’s about 15 km north from the Glacier itself.

Quad Bike Tours In Franz Josef Glacier New Zealand

QUAD BIKE TOURS

What if it’s raining for my quad bike tour?

Our quad bike tour motto is: “The wetter the better!”.  Our quad bike tours operate rain & shine!  We provide wet weather gear from head to toe.  You’ll receive gum boots, pants and a rain coat to keep you dry and the guides take photos for you along the way.  Come and and have fun with us in the mud & paddles of the Franz Josef Glacier valley!

What's the policy with kids on quad bike tours?

We can can safely cater to families with children 110 cm or taller, if in doubt please get in touch!

  • Children that are a minimum of 110 cm can join as passengers in our Adventure Buggy! The buggy can join any regular quad bike tour, following the same route.
  • Children must be a minimum of 145 cm tall (and reach the footrests) to be a passenger on our unique 2-seater Double Quad Bikes.
  • Drivers must be a minimum of 16 years old (no drivers license required).
  • Drivers with underage passengers must be a minimum of 18 years old.
  • ALL drivers must pass a test track prior to taking part in the tour.

Younger children?  Why not join a Boat Tour or Kayak Tour or Fishing Trip?

Do I need experience to drive a quad bike?

No!  We cater to first-timers and experienced quad bike riders.

All our customers undergo a test track prior to taking part in the tour, the test track allows time to get used to the bikes and see if you’re comfortable riding the terrain on the track.  If customers cannot pass the test track, we can try different bikes such as swapping onto a double quad bike or trying out a buggy.

It is not guaranteed that we can fit a suitable other option and in this case some customers cannot join the tour.  If this happens we cannot guarantee a tour refund, for more information please get in touch with the team.

Is there a weight limit for quad bikes?

We have a combined weight limit for our Double Quad Bikes only of 220 kg.

If you’re concerned at all about size, or weight please get in touch.  We can assure you that it’s likely fine and our jackets and pants sizes go up to 5XL. If you think the combined limit might exceed 220kg on a double quad bike we might suggest you try 2 single quad bikes or our buggy option!

What should I bring on my quad bike tour?

For your quad bike tour, please bring:

  • Sunglasses
  • Dress for the conditions! (If it’s warm bring warm clothes, if it’s hot dress cooler).
  • You can bring your phone with you at your own risk, we take FREE photos on all of our tours!
  • There’s no need to bring any food with you – however you can grab a bite to eat before or after your quad tour at the many cafes, restaurants or small supermarket in Franz Josef near our office. 

We provide:

  • Gumboots (aka rubber boots), pants, jackets and helmets – all you need to stay warm & dry!
  • FREE quad bike tour photos!
Can I wear something under my helmet?
  • You must wear a helmet on our quad bike tour, regardless of any head pieces you may otherwise wear.
  • For safety purposes you may be required to remove other headwear including beanies as we need to ensure they fit correctly for safety.
  • An exception to this is if you wear a turban/hijab where you must wear a thin fabric so the helmet still fits correctly, safety is our no.1 priority and wont be compromised.
Will I see the Glacier on my quad bike tour?

On a clear day we experience an amazing view of the Franz Josef Glacier from afar on our quad bike tours!  If it’s raining, or the clouds are low, than we will not see the Franz Josef Glacier.  We will still see the beautiful misty Southern Alps and when it’s raining we like to say “the wetter the better!” as we get down and dirty in the muddy puddles in the rainforest and riverbed. 

 

 

Wheelchair accessibility for quad tours?

Our quad bike tours are not designed to be wheelchair accessible, but depending on the ability of the individual in the chair to transfer onto a quad bike and/or buggy there’s possibilities to make this happen.  Please get in touch with us if you have any further questions.

Can a join a quad tour while pregnant?

Yes you can join a tour while pregnant.  As long as you are comfortable, and if you’re concerned speaking with your doctor first is recommended.  We do recommend that all participants understand the risk associated with our adventure activity. Read these inherent risks here. 

Do we quad bike TO the Glacier?

No we do not quad bike towards the Franz Josef Glacier.  Our tours take place in the Waiho riverbed, which is within the Franz Josef Glacier valley.  On a clear day we have great views of the Glacier, about 10 km away.

Can a guide drive the quad bike for me?

No, our quad bike tours require participants to drive themselves and all bookings must be made with someone suitable to drive the vehicle.  There’s different bike options available, if you’re more comfortable with a steering wheel than the handle bars and throttle on the quad bike, then you can look at the buggy option.  Our guides will instruct everyone how to safely ride our bikes, then you’ll get comfortable on the bikes on our test track before heading out on the guided tour.  For more information feel free to get in touch.

SCENIC CRUISES

& FISHING

Is there a toilet on board the boat?

YES there’s a comfortable toilet facility on the Hanna-k (our tour boat)! 

What if it’s raining for my Scenic Cruise or Fishing?

The Hanna-k (our tour boat) is fully covered to keep you warm and dry in a weather conditions. You can even sit on the back viewing deck while remaining dry!
Lake Mapourika holds equally beautiful qualities in the rain as it does on a bluebird day. On a drizzly day enjoy dramatic clouds sweeping over the Alps and a beautiful lush misty rainforest surrounding the lake. In the rain, this is a true west coast experience! We provide wet weather equipment for any walking tours during wet weather.

Trout fishing is often enhanced by drizzly or cloudy conditions. 

Where can I get a fishing license?

We provide up to 2 licenses per standard fishing charter, for those that wish to fish on the tour. If you require more, or would like to read about licenses please visit Fish & Game NZ.

What are the child & infant rates?
  • 17 years and under are considered children, and have different child rates which apply depending on which on which boat tour you choose.
  • 3 year olds & under can join our boat tours for FREE!

Our Scenic Cruises and Fishing Charters are and excellent family activity!

Will I see the Glacier on the boat tour?

On a clear day we can see many different Glaciers from Lake Mapourika including the Neve of the Franz Josef Glacier.  The Southern Alps and Glaciers are magnificent to view afar from the lake as you will see a panoramic vista of the regions Glaciers and even Mt Cook and Tasman.

If the clouds are lower in the valley, then we will not see the Glaciers – but this really doesn’t matter as the primary focus of our tours is the lush rainforest and learning about the conservation and Lake Mapourika.

What should I bring for my boat tour?
  • BYO (bring your own) food & drink on any boat tour.  We also supply complimentary tea and coffee on all our cruises and fishing trips!
  • For our Scenic Cruises & Fishing Tours feel free to bring along any beer or wine to enjoy while you relax on the boat!   (We do not recommend this for our Cruise & Walk tours as the forest track is take a bit of care!) 
  • Camera’s & phones are also recommended for boat trips! You’ll definitely want to take some pictures while you’re out there.
  • Hats and/or sunglasses.

We provide:

  • Complimentary tea & coffee on board. 
  • Binoculars for sightseeing. 
  • All fishing equipment is provided for our Fishing Tours.
  • Walking poles are provided for our Cruise & Walk tour.
Is the boat wheelchair accessible?

Unfortunately no, the tour boat is not wheelchair accessible.  Our lake levels change frequently, making it difficult to move a wheelchair from the Jetty onto the boat’s back deck.  Furthermore the doorway from the back-deck to the cabin is too narrow for wheelchair passage.

Do we boat to the Glacier?

No, our boat tours do not head towards the Franz Josef Glacier.  They take place on Lake Mapourika, which sits in the Franz Josef Glacier valley however it’s about 15 km north from the Glacier itself.

Can I purchase food or drink on the tour?

No, we do not have anywhere to purchase food on the boat or on the Lake at any point.  Franz Josef township is well equipped with a small 4-square supermarket and many great cafes and restaurants.  You can purchase food and drinks to bring along with you on the boat tour or fishing charter, or simply enjoy a meal before or afterwards. 

We do always have hot water on board for our complimentary tea and coffee. 

General Questions:

Where do I check-in?

Check-in with us at our booking office at 30 Main Road, Franz Josef Glacier township.  You will need to be there at least 15 minutes early to check-in.  If you need a fishing license or have additional questions please feel free to come by 20 mins prior to departure. 

Do you offer heli-hikes or scenic flights?

No we don’t offer Heli-hikes or Scenic Flights, we’re busy enough with our kayak tours, scenic boat tours, fishing and quad bike tours!  Check out our page for other things to do in Franz Josef Glacier if you’re looking for helicopter flights.

What's the weather forecast?

If you do have a weather app, please don’t worry as these apps often blanket the entire West Coast in rain.  Our team are really good at checking the best local weather – often times it’s dry at Lake Mapourika while it’s raining in the township.  We look at weather across many different websites, and this combined with our local knowledge allows us to give a good picture of local weather, don’t be afraid to ask us! 

Our favourite site for daily weather forecast is: Windy

Lucky for us, we operate in most weather conditions (rain or shine!) and have a great time in all-weather conditions.  We provide full wet weather gear for all our tours, and so generally speaking we usually operate unless the conditions are deemed unsafe in which case we will cancel with full refund, or re-book you onto another tour.   

Should I book in advance?

We always recommend booking your tour in advance.  Our tours often fill up, and last spots even during the off-season can disappear quickly at the last moment.  Our scenic boat tours and fishing charters are in particularly high demand as we operate all tours from 1 boat, on a first in first serve basis.

With our flexible cancellation policy, you can book in advance and be assured that you can amend or even cancel your booking outside of 24 hours.

We're a family with kids, what tour is best for us?

All of our tours are suitable for families with children of all ages. The type of tour for your family will depend on your preferences here’s some of our guidance:

Kayak Tours: Kids 3 years old and up can join any of our kayak tours.  Or if you need a shorter tour for a family with a young child or infant, consider a private kayak tour or email us to discuss shortened tour options which may be available.

Boat tours: All of our boat tours are excellent for young children, in fact infants under are free to join to the tour!  If you’ve got a family with older children maybe consider joining a Cruise & Walk or Fishing Tour.

Off-Road Adventure Tour: The quad bikes and buggies are an excellent family option – but there’s some height requirements.  Here’s the rules: Children must 145 cm tall to be a passenger on a quad bike.  Younger children must be 110 cm to join a tour on the buggy.  All children must be with drivers at least 18 years or older.

Let us know if you have any other questions about how we can get your family out for an adventure!

 

FLEXIBLE & FREE 24 HR CANCELLATIONS

We want you to be confident when you book directly with us! We provide hassle-free full refunds without any penalties.  We do ask that any cancellations and changes are made a full 24 hours prior to the trip time. Cancellations made within the 24 hour time frame cannot be refunded (for any reason including medical or other) so please let us know in time if you need to change, or cancel your booking!  Good travel insurance will cover last minute scenarios you might encounter that affect your bookings.  Private/Group bookings or charters incur a 48 hour cancellation policy.

We reserve the right to cancel tours if minimum numbers are not met or in the event of unsafe conditions, in which case full refunds are issued.

We're here to help, so feel free to drop us an email if you have any questions.