Photo © Okarito boat tours
Okarito - a place untouched by time - come with us and experience the magic of the birds and plants, learn of the natural history and the stories of these pristine wetlands and rainforest waterways. Our EcoTours are informative and engaging, small and interactive - up close to the nature, ecology, and incredible biodiversity of this very special place on the West Coast of NZ’s South Island - Okarito village sits on a sandspit along the Tasman Sea and the expansive wetlands stretch north and inland from the small community.
Home to both beautiful and unusual species of birds - the Kotuku, or Great White Heron claims the Okarito waterways as an important feeding ground during and after their nesting season, a number make their home here year round. Watch them stalk their prey alongside pied stilts, godwits - our intrepid visitor from as far away as Alaska, and the ever entertaining Royal Spoonbills. The sight of a great white heron, reflected in the calm waters with the towering snow capped Southern Alps as a backdrop, is a sight to remember!
You may glimpse the more elusive fernbirds or even a bittern in the reeds and rushes. Listen to the call of the tuis and bellbirds high in the ancient trees. Hear the distant sound of the sea. Experience the magic of Okarito.
Tour Departures most days from November 1 to early June:
Early Bird Tour - 7:30 - 9 AM $85/person - recommended for early-mid-summer for usually the best bird viewing, mountain landscapes and reflections.
EcoTours - 9:00-11:00 AM and 11:30-1:30 $95/person - our most popular tour. A bit longer and more in-depth for those who love the rainforest and a riverside refreshment! The earlier departure best for early-mid summer and the 11:30 departure for those on the move or who have other activities booked earlier.
Okarito Wetlands Introduction - 2:30 - 4:00 PM $75/person - The afternoon tour gives you a wonderful look at the region - learn of the ecology of the area and why our wetlands are so important! Bird sightings are more scarce in the afternoons during early - mid-summer but can be great for later summer tours.
Bookings can be made directly online through our website at www.okaritoboattours.co.nz/boat-tours (note: All tours are weather dependent - although inland on a lagoon/waterway, we do not go out in heavy rain or high winds) Children under 8 come free and up to 16 at reduced rates.
For advice on best times and tides to see birds, reflections or photography, please just email or give us a call - we will give you our best recommendations!
We are pleased to be able to offer accommodation in Okarito - a great place to base yourself for a few nights. Off the boat, we will give you information and recommendations on seeing birds on the beaches and the rainforest walkways. Self-contained holiday house stays vary from $130 - $180/night for two people (2019 rate).
Okarito Boat Tours & Guided Walks Contact Details
Paula Sheridan or Swade Finch
31 Wharf street, Okarito
West Coast, South Island
PO Box 2
Franz Josef 7856