My kayak trip in NZ glacier country

My kayak trip in NZ glacier country

A visit to New Zealand is not complete without a kayak trip, so I decided to go for it at the gorgeous New Zealand West Coast. I couldn’t remember the last time I had kayaked. Maybe a bad sign? Nonetheless I was excited.

The New Zealand West Coast is known for its glaciers and is therefore often called ‘glacier country’. Thousands of years ago the glaciers were way larger and when they retreated they left lakes behind, formed by the glacier water.

I really wanted to kayak on one of those glacier lakes. I found a Kayak Glacier and Walk Experience via Koru Enterprises, which offers heaps of fun activities in New Zealand. Lake Mapourika was the lucky lake. It’s close to Franz Josef and has the best reflections.

There I was, ready and geared up to kayak in New Zealand and break those reflections. I was a bit wary when we slid into the water, because it had been a while and my kayak partner had never done this before. After a few seconds we realised we were not going to capsize. Yay!

A big plus for me was that the activity was in a small group. It makes such a difference. We were only with four people plus guide.

Kayak on Lake Mapourika - West Coast New Zealand


Kayaking in glacier country
Kayaking in glacier country

Our guide was Zak, happy 25-year-old English chap with awesome hair that had a life on its own. It was his birthday, but that didn’t change much for him. He was all-in for this tour.

Because I chose the morning kayak activity the lake was still and the reflections were going on.

Reflections at lake Mapourika

Tip: there is a bigger chance on reflections in the morning as opposed to the afternoon.

We kayaked an hour and then docked on land at the Okarito Forest. We did a little walk through the bush, which is home to the native kiwi bird! I was very impressed by Zak’s knowledge of plants. He gave tons of information and don’t be surprised if he asks you to eat some plants!

Walking through lush Okarito forest

Zak also shared a Maori legend and told us that Lake Mapourika means ‘Flower of the Dawn’. It was named after a Maori chief’s daughter, because she was very pretty, and the lake was prettiest in the morning. I totally agree. After our walk and a cup of tea we went back on the water.

When you kayak in New Zealand, and definitely at the West Coast, you are surrounded by mountains and forest the entire trip. The weather was nice and I just didn’t want to go back on shore. Time always goes too fast when you’re having fun!

Disclosure: Koru Enterprises hosted me on this glacier kayak trip. All opinions are, as always my own. 



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