trip advisor reveiw 11th Nov 2017
***** Eco adventure
A NZ wilderness adventure from start to finish. Don't miss this one, it's worth every cent. Beautiful native bush, a rocking and rolling jet boat ride, and barbequed venison for lunch at a quirky lodge on the isolated South coast. Wonderful!
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile
I recently done this jet boat ride with family, I have been down this river and back two times and on one occasion we flew into The Waitutu Lodge by helicopter and had our 92 year old Mum along for the ride . I will return there is not a better jet boat trip any where in NZ quite like this travelling through pristine wilderness forest . You start of with a journey across mystical lake Hauroko then down this wild fast flowing river to the southern ocean. You will find the Waitutu lodge at the river mouth, the caretaker hosts of the lodge are Peter and Rose and their lovely dog Sofia will greet you. The accomodation is basic but very comfortable. A great place to escape the daily grind . Your hosts on this incredible trip are Johan and Joyce. The knowledge and deep insight that Johan has for this incredible area is priceless, you will learn so much from this man about the nature and history of the region all explained with a very dry humour. Joyce and Johann commitment also the the ecology of the area is to be commended; with their on going trapping of feral pests that are eliminating a lot of bird life. Do yourself a favour take this incredible journey .
3 days agoReviewed by CarolineB_NZ. 2 Nov 2017,
Great service from Joyce and Johan across Lake Hauroko at the end of the Dusky Track. The booking process was easy and they were quick to respond to my phone message (they are often out of signal on the lake/river) and by email. It's a great service for trampers in the area and I liked that Joyce always takes the time to note in the hut book when she will be back next, so that any trampers who have not booked will know when to expect the next boat (they only run the trampers service if they have booking so definitely call ahead). I was also lucky enough to experience the jetboat ride down the Wairaurahiri all the way from Lake Hauroko to the South Coast! This is an amazing untouched part of fiordland which is fantastic to explore by jetboat as you can be the only people for miles around - much more of a wilderness experience that any other jet boating I have done around Wanaka and Queenstown. Highly recommended for both track transport and as an activity in this stunning corner of NZ!
This boat trip was every penny worth it! It is a 6 hours trip over the deepest lake in New Zealand and then down the Wairaurahiri river with a few stops a long the way. We were able to spot a deer and learned about the protection work in the fjordland areas. We were stunned by the BBQ venison lunch down at the waitutu lodge, Johan is a really good host and cook. We had a marvelous time and would highly recommend their tour! Especially if you're not keen on crowded and busy places. The river tour has everything New Zealand nature has to offer.
This Jet Boat ride is the best we've ever seen. It is a 6 to 7 hour ride across Lake Hauroko for 10 KM then a 72 KM Fast thrilling ride down the Wairauahiri River to the Southern Ocean. Expertly driven by Johan with a BBQ lunch at the end & local information on Flora & Fauna. There is a guided walk along the way. I would recommend this to anyone.
A highlight of our Southland cycle tour. Johan and Joyce were the best hosts ever very professional yet so relaxed. No trouble for them to arrange a pick up and drop off from Tautapere for us cyclists. The lake and river are most beautiful. The jet boat ride was very exciting and the gourmet lunch was to die for. Don't hesitate to take this adventure.
Johan started the engine for just 2 of us (everyone else cancelled because of bad weather),took us down a wild river, stopped and explained, prepared a tasty lunch....and up to Lake Hauroko again.
Exciting! Exceeded our expectations!
And-the weather was not too Bad!
The journey was an experience of NZ untouched, with beautiful vistas of Mountains, water river rapids and still lake in silence.
Johanus delivered the service at exactly the right pitch of knowledge, friendliness and professionalism. The birthday cake was thoughtful as well as coordinating a helicopter experience that happened by chance.
What a day what a trip. Why would anyone not do this total package? Well if you dont do it you will have missed one of the best Jet boating experiences ever done. I will not tell you more, you will just have to do this trip yourselves. If you chose not to go dont blame anyone else..
Chances to experience all the thrills of jet boating and adventure of true back country are hard to find but this is it. A true "Bucket List" item. To explore this remote corner of New Zealand like this with such a capable, professional and knowledgeable driver and guide as Johan is a real privilege. And not a bad cook either, scrummy BBQ lunch at Waitutu Lodge.
Thanks Johan for a great day out, can't recommend this trip highly enough.
It's hard to write something better than the other reviews because they are so well done. Leave Queenstown behind and do the real thing! The whole package--the ride, the guide, the food, the river, the sea, the beauty, it's all there!
A fantastic day, delicious lunch,interesting and informative talks from Johan about the area and the conservation projects. Without people like him there would be no wilderness areas or animals left in NZ for one of our most valuable assets tourism. Thank you Johan for a wonderful trip.
Everything you read in these reviews is true. This was the absolute highlight of our 2.5 weeks in New Zealand and a completely unique experience that gets you really out into the wilderness.
The jet boat ride was fantastic - Johan very skillfully manouveres the boat along an incredibly shallow river with at times only cms of water under the boat through untouched forest. The commentary was fantastic as was the great BBQ lunch and views of the coast. I cannot recommend highly enough
Visited December 2015
Great thumbs up to Johan and Joyce of wairaurahiri jet boats
Great ride on the lake and river to the sea
Wonderful bush lunch and walks great to see you catered to others fishing need as well
Cool little walk over the swing bridge
A great full day trip beats Queenstown any day
Keep up the great experience
Visited December 2015
Hi Johan and Joyce,
Yes it seemed that luck played in our favour on Friday with the weather, I am sure that your thrill seeking adventures caused all involved to forget what the weather was doing anyway, the day was throughly enjoyed by everyone! Joyce, thanks very much for the hearty Southland lunch, the warm drinks and to top it off a well organised day. Johan, that is the second time I have been on your boat and on both occasions your skill and technique is a privilege to watch and rely on, the adventure is one that is certainly world class and we are so lucky to have it in our back yard as well as a legend like yourself there to make the environment sustainable and accessible. Please pass on a big thanks to Dale for putting the helicopter through its paces and giving everyone an aerial trip to remember, a big thanks also to your support crew for all there help as well.
The day out is one that I will certainly be encouraging other work places to do,
I will keep a watch on seven sharp this week for the article on your big beach clean.
We done again and thanks very much, I will sort payment for you over the next couple of days
Brett and the transport crew at Open Country Dairy
What an awesome ride. Great host in Johan. The food was delicious. Can't rate them highly enough. Informing all friends. A "MUST DO" experience.
Hi Joyce & Johan,
If you miss Radio Live tonight here’s the link available from tomorrow (Monday) just click onto Lake Hauroko program. Your most welcome to put this link onto your website. Hope you like it anyway and hope to see you again soon.
This was the bird we saw today, let me know what it is.
Thanks again for today you both should feel proud of what you offer and the way you present yourselves and business , I get a bit cynical about people exploiting for the $ and offer very little other than a fancy presentation , you have restored some faith in me, well done.
Just wanted to say thanks for the trip over the weekend. Johan was a legend and everyone down at the lodge was super friendly. And thanks again for the venison, it was delicious.
We will definitely be recommending this trip to people in Queenstown.
We did the Wairaurahiri Jet experience on 5 March this year. We barely have the vocabulary to say what a fantastic 7 weeks we had in New Zealand. We had intended to thank everybody who had contributed to our great holiday on our return in March but …… life got in the way.
However, we could not let 2014 come to an end without thanking you. All our friends think we are working for the New Zealand Tourist Board. When they ask us why we had such a fantastic time in New Zealand we talk about the beauty and majesty of the scenery, the many exciting activities we undertook - Tongariro Crossing and a whole day's jet-boating to name but two. But above all it was the friendliness and kindness of all the people who we met that really made our holiday.
The day with you was undoubtedly one of the highlights of our 7 weeks in New Zealand. Rather than going down a gorge doing fancy tricks, we had the benefit of great scenery on Lake Hauroko and down the river to the Tasman Sea plus your informative commentaries about the local flora and fauna and your conservation work. Celebrating Dorothy's 65th birthday at a wilderness lodge near the mouth of the river, enjoying the barbecued venison and of course the white wine and birthday cake is a memory which will stay with us for a long time. Thank you so much for organising this.
Best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Happy 2015.
Dorothy and Iain McMurrich
Hi Johan and Joyce,
We all had an excellent adventure today despite the conditions. The lunch was outstanding in quality and presentation! We will certainly be encouraging more of our friends and others we meet about the experience we had and of course trip advisor in due course.
Thanks again for making us all feel safe and welcome.
Keith, Kirsty, Finlay, Fraser and Felix.
wow 'every man and his dog should do this'!!
its a trip I've now done three times and will again! it has everything and then some, regardless of the season. The most awe-inspiring scenery, amidst Fiorldland National Park less the rat race of boats and people. Lake Hauroko with its history, myths and mystic, the mist and snow capped mountain peaks in cooler months or sun kissed tussocked tops in warmer months. Podacarp forests engulf you as you make your way down the river, catching sight of a deer in its natural environment, a trout cruising by or the glint of the friendly Okaka lodge manager signaling from the top of the Humpridge track. (which you can access by doing this jet boat trip, heck why wouldn't you?! so many ways to explore and learn about this seldom visited beauty of Fiorldland) and thats all before you even get to the ocean! once there you get the most scrumptous venison lunch is cooked right there and then by Johan, whilst you are out exploring New Zealands southern coast and looking out towards Solander and Stewart islands.
We met up with some folks that were staying at the Wairaurahiri Lodge where we had lunch, they had also boated in a few day before, hunting, tramping and fishing and then were flying out, wow what a holiday. Stories of the deer hunting days and area history come to life as Johan described the events of his own and others expeditions, giggles and shouts of joy when we found a trap had caught yet another 'jellybean' as Joyce delightfully calls the rats in the stoat traps, yip these guys are environmentally conscious too, with their own stoat trapping program!
I could go on but really you must experience it for yourself! make sure its Wairaurahiri Jet with Johan and Joyce and you'll be having the time of your life, these guys are the real deal!
Ive been on all sorts of boat rides around the globe and this for sure hits the spot on fun, adventure, remoteness and Kiwi Kai.
Overall Rating: Exceeded Expectations
Everything from start to finish was perfect. Johann was so informative and obviously knows and loves the area. The lunch was lovely with wonderful vension and many other tasty salads, etc.
The trip down the river was exhilarating and suddenly arriving at the sea was a lovely surprise.
Of all the things we did in NZ this is the one thing we would do again but I would definitely sit at the back as being small I couldn't see much over the front of the boat (sat at back on return journey).
Thanks Johan for the great day. Your local knowledge and environmental input was really appreciated as was your expert river navigating!!
We would like to thank you for the great day out we had back in January 14.
It was the best day by far that we had in New Zealand. A day we won't forget.
Just looked on the trap status for 11a and really pleased we have caught something already. Hope your weather is better than ours in rainy England. Will hope to be back one day and sponsor another trap.
Thanks again Jo and Phill :)
Hi Joyce and Johan,
Thank you so much for your patience for payment.
I have made payment today so will come through tomorrow. Thank you SOOOO much for a great day. Wil and I were blown away with the hospitality, informative information on the area, the delishious BBQ and overall experience and excitment of the deer being shot.
We can't stop raving about it and have been telling all our friends when they are down your way to go as it is so worth the trip and for what your do for conversation.
I am delighted to advise that on the Wednesday after jet boating Wil proposed to me on our way back from Horse Riding in Glenorchy. :)
It was a very Magical and special trip.
Thanks so much to Johan, Stan and yourself for making our day such a wonderful experience. We will be grinning from ear to ear in the months/years to come.
Kind regards and Warm Wishes
Rachel and Wil.
If any of your clients are ever looking for the best ever team building/bonding experience I can thoroughly recommend Johan's and Joyce's Wairaurahiri Jet experience. Every one on the trip had a wonderful action packed day, were fully fed and watered, we were given an informative commentary of the area and delivered safely back to the real world.
Brilliant news Joyce and about time too.
And the point you make about burning fossil fuels but still getting the award is very significant. For a lot of operators, the Enviro award is just a load of empty "green" gestures, doing some recycling and encouraging people not to have fresh towels every day whilst ignoring the realities of conservation and the environment. You are doing the serious stuff.
Great news on the Price trap and although we fell short on quite a few late in the season because of the river level, hopefully we'll get more out there over the coming season. And if you have any other ideas for conservation projects, just let me know and I'll be in there with you.
We had a wonderful day with Johan and Joyce. The trip was a great ride and their committment to conservation offers an insight into the river and park which is second-to-none and adds great value to the whole experience.
Hey there Joyce and Johan
We had a wonderful, wonderful day! Thank you so much! Johan you are wonderful, your knowledge and obvious passion for the area adds to the experience, along with being a very competent driver and a fabulous cook! You will be highly recommended to everyone we know and meet.
We will save our pennies and definitely do this again. I admire you for all the trapping you do and I do believe you are making a difference!
Karla, Aaron, Sarah, Jaedyn, John, Coby and Jake
We are wondering how you are getting along in your tent with the wind and the rain? Any whitebait??
Thanks to you and johan for THE most exhilarating jetboat experience last Sunday. Andre and I are old boaties/ boaties of old and we felt most comfortable with Johan and his expert boatmanship. The venison lunch was delicious and the bottle of wine a welcome surprise. There is no doubt that we will recommend your trip to others. To us it was a TRUE NZ experience and hospitality.
We arrived wet and cold at the Waiau Pub into the arms of Dorothy and Quinton. The Pub experience was as I remember NZ back in the late 1950's. A warm welcome, a seriously great steak and chips and friendly locals. As we went to bed we asked Quinton if there could be whitebait fritters on the menu for breakfast. not only did he deliver them for breakfast...but sent is off with a plastic container full of whitebait fritters for lunch!!
We will surely spread the word amongst our mates to experience your part of the world.
Andre and Barb du Plessis
Thank you for the great trip down the river, Thanks for taking the time to show the old hut at Rabbit flat and sharing the stories about the characters that lived in that neck of the woods.
The trip home was fantastic be it a bit wet crossing the lake.
The trip was especially great for the older lady from Wales, She has never been out of the city in her whole life, and can't believe how kiwis get out and do this sort of thing, We are very lucky.
Lyndon Moffitt ( Moff )
Kia ora Johan & Joyce.
WOW- what a fabulous day I and others obviously had on Saturday. It was a dream come true from the suberb mild weather to the calm lake with magic reflections, Mary Island beckoning, Teal Bay's birds & scented orchids, then the thrill of the river with its twists and turns and Jasper ( at 3 years )being excited & gleeful! Being at the mouth- at such a low tide and thinking of the pioneers- so daunting seeing all that bush.....
Your exceptional BBQ meal with all the trimmings - yummmm- and I loved the platter- fern leaf.I over- ate!
Then off back to more thrills, rapids, deep pools, fish... and arriving back exhilarated, satisfied but oh so thrilled with how blessed I had been!
What a day! I loved it- so many memories and emotional connections.
Your explanations of landscape, history, maori connections, river processes, bush identification, animals, stoat trap commitment and benefits, flags, your personal commitment to our wildlife, making a difference and encouraging others to do likewise- all added to the flavour and experience to be remembered!
NO plastic- how fabulous!
((*****Just had a thought- you might like to be interviewed for a Wastebusters column - how you don't use plastic and why!?))
I loved the way you were unhurried and responded to our questions, gave of yourself.... and held a wee twinkle in your eye- kidding us a bit but challenging our thinking.
Your life experience was evident- coping with different people and all our prejudices - without upsetting us!
Thank you Joyce for all your organising too. I needed that reassurance. Carter family loved it I noted! Thrilled they were able to come.
Thank you for your generosity in suggesting F&B could team up with you and do some fundraising.
Please let me know when I need to pay for my trap!
I need to come back soon.
Rangimarie, blessings and joy. You are both taonga.
Forest and Bird Southland Secretary
The day after, and what a day it was, just like to say thank you for the excellent trip, everyone had a brilliant day, and even though they were very tired on the way home there was still lots of talk about the trip.
We had a guy who is a millionaire with us, and he has been every where around the world, and he said that was the best thing he has ever done.
Also my father who is 80 he said in all his life that was the "best", and a great birthday present.
I can tell you now there will be a lot of people spreading great words about you to their friends, so hopefully more people will do this trip with you.
The lunch was great so thanks for that, and it was good to see peanut again.
I am sorry i never got to see Joyce face to face but hope can catch up with her in the future.
Thank you once again from the group in balclutha and queenstown.
All the best for all your other trips, and merry Christmas and happy new year to you both and hope to see you on another trip some time."
Dear Johan and Joyce :
Just a quick note to say thanks for last weekend's trip. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The weather failed to inhibit my adrenaline and the cool winter air enhanced the feeling of being alive! Your in depth knowledge of the area, animals, flora and fauna and your ability to convey it made the trip not only heart thumping but educational.
It is an experience I would recommend to anyone, New Zealander or foreign traveller. Prepare to see NZ as it is rarely seen, in a way that must be as close as it would be, untouched... and yet I didn't feel my presence was invasive. This is a true eco-tourism adventure product!
Your experience has obviously taught you how to ensure passengers are safe without being smothered, and are given the flexibility to experience at their own pace. I commend you both and wish you all the very best with the adventure and the business. And it Yak Steak ever comes up on the menu...
Dear Johan & Joyce :
Just a wee note to say thank you so much for your wonderful hospitality last weekend. Our group really enjoyed their day out and the wonderful lunch and beach walk. Would love to see you and your family on the island sometime. Thanks again, awesome stuff.
Sue & Ian Munro
Dear Joyce & Johan :
We were thrilled to be on your wonderful day trip down river on 26th Feb. this year (Joyce's birthday).
We were on the same trip as the two local fellas who won the trip with a competition you ran. We had such a fabulous day we wanted to do something special to thank you both. Lets not forget Peanut who was also a highlight of the day, he bagged us Aussies all day even though Charlie fixed his Solar Power for him (switched on the right button).
So when we came home and saw these thirst we decided to personalise them for each of you to say a BIG thank you for a great day. We eventually did four jet boat trips, on the South Island, but yours was by far the best. Making us feel special by escorting us on several walks, friendly chat at lunch stop, expert driving and even down to dumping us on the Lonely Rock, fantastic.
We have included a shirt for Peanut (with a special message on it), and would appreciate it if you could drop it off to him on your next trip down river. Once again thanks heaps!
Barb & Charlie Kimmings
Dear Johan :
On behalf of the AgriQuality staff that were with you last Wednesday, thank you very much for a most enjoyable day.
Despite the inclement weather, it was a very worthwhile experience - we all have something to remember for a long time. We appreciated your repertoire and also of course, your cooking! It's amazing what we blokes can do over a BBQ however I don't dare take away from your wife the credit due to her for her meal preparation and of course the great support she provided on the boat!
Thanks, both of you for a great day.
AgriQuality New Zealand
Note: The following is an independent survey report by A.C.T.O. Marketing Research:
As an independent agent I undertook a survey of a random sample of thirteen past Wairaurahiri Jet customers, who had taken a trip within the last 18 months. I was seeking to gauge customer satisfaction with a variety of aspects of their trip and of the overall experience.
The questions asked involving customer satisfaction were:
I received an overwhelmingly positive response about all aspects of the Wjet experience.
When customers were asked to rate specific aspects of the trip all were given ratings of eight, nine or ten out of ten. All stated that they would recommend Wjet (Wairaurahiri Jet) to others, many said that they have.
All said that they enjoyed the hosts of the trip and found them very friendly and informative. Some commented that Johan and Joyce had gone out of their way to make their day special.
When asked about the highlight of their trip, it seemed that the excitement of the jetboating on the river was the most popular feature of a very memorable day.
Some comments were:
Anna Thompson BFA
A.C.T.O. Marketing Research