Okarito Boat Eco Tours | Okarito (near Franz Josef Glacier) | West Coast

Paula and Swade of Okarito Boat Tours warmly welcome their guests into their haven of wetlands and waterways aboard their custom built open air boat, the Explorer Douglas. 


Okarito is a revered and truly special place renowned for its diverse bird life and stunning natural landscapes that stretch from the shores of the Tasman Sea to the tops of the Southern Alps.   


Home to unique birdlife, plants and aquatic species, the Okarito wetlands are NZ’s largest, unmodified and intact ecosystem, renowned for its mountains to sea intact ecosystems and biodiversity. 


Paula and Swade are passionate and enthusiastic hosts and will soon have you engaged in learning the fascinating stories of life and living in Okarito.  Established in 2008, they will share their vast knowledge of the area’s heritage, diverse and abundant bird life, wetland and rainforest plants as well as their own efforts living sustainably - from balancing tourism to conservation and predator control and living n a small, remote village in the midst of the South Island’s wild west coast. 


Tour options


Okarito EcoTour

A morning two-hour trip out on the expansive Okarito lagoon and waterways - interactive and engaging guides will point out the wading and forest birds, and explain a bit of the geology of this mountain to sea landscape. Okarito is a standout special place in NZ - the country’s largest unmodified and intact wetland system.  Learn of our iconic species brought back from near extinction and ongoing predator control programs and conservation efforts while being immersed in the natural beauty of the landscape. Includes hot drink & snack.


Early Bird Charters

Private two to 2.5 hour morning charters available for that early light of day and your own special time on the water.  Find that photograph you have dreamt of or just take in the peaceful, untouched atmosphere of this unique and inspiring landscape.  Includes hot drink & snack


Okarito Experience - 2 night stay & tour

Once you have arrived, you may not want to leave! So stay and really experience Okarito - walk the Okarito Trig in the afternoon, and take in near 360 degree views of the lagoon, mountains and Tasman sea.  Then watch the sun drop into the sea at sunset, listen to the call of owls at night and view the incredible night sky and stars.  Self-contained holiday house packages include 2 night stays plus the 9 AM EcoTour.  


Discover Okarito Package

Get the most out of your Okarito day.  This amazing value package includes the 9 AM EcoTour, a packed lunch, a visit to the Okarito Native Plants Nursery and actually planting a tree in a restoration site, followed by a guided forest walk.  Discover the “small world” of the forest floor, ancient plants and how Okarito came to be.


Okarito EcoHeritage Tour 

(for groups minimum 8, maximum 24 pax)

Our EcoHeritage Tour is particularly suited for groups.  With a comfortable capacity for 12 onboard, we also include an addition to the tour with an easy walking Heritage tour - delving back into the past of this small settlement.  Once home to thousands, the population now sits at about 35 - vastly different to the boom and bust days of the mid 1800’s gold rushes.  


Capacity for this comprehensive tour is 24 - with half the group walking with Paula of Okarito Boat Tours, while Swade takes a group out on the waterways, then reversing the groups.  All groups, regardless of size (8 minimum) will have private charters.  


Also included is a visit to Donovan’s Store - the West Coast’s oldest remaining building from the gold rush era and formerly the Club Hotel - now a Historic Places Trust Category 1 building.  


A delicious 3 course lunch is served up here and more time to chat about the community, past, present and future and some of the fascinating people who have called Okarito home.  


There is also a photo exhibition on display from award winning, local photographer  Andris Apse showcasing a glimpse of the people within their homes of Okarito.  





Okarito Boat Eco Tours

Paula Sheridan


+64 3 753 4223

+64 21 049 8522


Postal:  PO Box 2 Franz Josef, West Coast, NZ 7856

Physical:  31 Wharf St.  Okarito, West Coast NZ 


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