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Introducing our NEW tour … 4 Hr KAYAK & WALK!

Introducing our NEW tour … 4 Hr KAYAK & WALK!

by | Jan 25, 2014

It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s finally here! Franz Josef Tours has gained a concession to be able to operate guided walks through the Okarito KIWI SANCTUARY on the far side of the lake! Read on to find out more about our tour and learn about the making of our track…


So we started the process of creating a new product for people that found three hours of sitting in a kayak to be well… a little daunting. How could we break up our original tour so that people can stretch their legs before coming home? The forest at the back of the lake is so dense and untouched that it’s not the easiest thing to accomplish.

The ‘peninsula’ at the far side of the lake is part of the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary (home to the RAREST kiwi’s on the planet, only just under 400 of them left!). It’s also home to other native birds and some 900 year old Kahikatea trees – but has a natural ridge-line which leads out to a beautiful look-out at the point. We thought this could be an excellent spot to put a bush-walk, as we wouldn’t have to clear much bush to follow the ridge, yet you could still enjoy walking through New Zealand’s infamously DENSE rainforest.

The first few times scouting out the track were a bit rough, we were skeptical about how to get the average clientele through here safely. But finding the right routes and putting in a few hand-lines worked wonders! We were finally ready to run our first trip through the track! Thanks to a group of locals we were able to do so last week without feeling the pressure we would with a paying group of clients.

We got some wonderful feedback on the trip – and are looking forward to getting more foot traffic through our special spot on the far side of the lake. Check out these photos and few fun facts about the Westland National park:

  • NZ’s long isolation without marsupials has enabled the survival of ancient Gondwana plants and animals to a much greater degree than anywhere else. The Westland National Park is a strong hold of these primitive plant and animal species.


  • The tree’s around us are reminiscent of the JURASSIC period (pretty cool hey?)


  • The forest around us on our track has been in it’s same un-modified state for something like… 14,000 years! Since the Franz Josef Glacier retreated over this area long long ago.


Come along and check out the new trail!