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“Unusual way of seeing glaciers” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Glacier Sea Kayaking-Day Tours

Glacier Sea Kayaking-Day Tours
Departs From: The Old Mountaineers Cafe, Bar and Restaurant - Next door to the Department of Conservation Visitor Information Centre, Mt. Cook Village, New Zealand
64 3 435 1890
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Type: Boat Tours
Attraction Details
Vasteras, Sweden
1 review
“Unusual way of seeing glaciers”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

Really friendly guides. They gave us very nice introduction into the history of the Tasman Lake and how to safely kayak among the giant icebergs. Paddling among the ice blocks is awesome. You can't get very close to them for safety reasons, but they look impressive anyway. Actually we could touch a block of ice about 3 meters long (which may seem small, but one need to realize that we see only 10 % of its total mass over the water level). We had truly beautiful views of the surrounding peaks during the trip.

This is completely different experience than sea kayaking on the azure crystal-clear warm waters elsewhere. Paddling was very relaxed, which gives you a lot of time to enjoy sights and sounds of the glacier. Guides were happy to answer all our questions; and believe me, you will have a lot of them.

At the end of the trip they served few years old Whisky on 2000 years old glacial ice. Where else can you get that?

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlie H, Owner at Glacier Sea Kayaking-Day Tours, responded to this review, April 4, 2013
We are so very pleased that you enjoyed the experience on the Tasman Lake with Glacier Kayaking. Isn't it awesome to paddle amounst the big ice bergs. It's certainly an amazing adventure and hope you got some great photos.
Thank you for coming with us.
Regards

Charlie
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18 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
north yorkshire, uk
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great Experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We were fortunate enough to paddle on the lake just days after the glacier had calved and paddled among many icebergs. We were in a small group of 5 and the Slovakian guide was informative and chatted throughout the trip. What an experience to be able to touch the icebergs and watch them turning. Would have rated this trip as excellent had the guide sent us as promised, the many photos that he took of us paddling.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlie H, Owner at Glacier Sea Kayaking-Day Tours, responded to this review, March 18, 2013
Thank you very much for your review. The ice bergs are very spectacular at the moment and we are so pleased you got to experience the incredible views. The very next day the two big ice bergs rolled over and this was just amazing to see!!!!!
All the best from our team.

Charlie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

I normally won't write a bad review but this experience has bugged me since we did it over a week ago.
It is the first time in 5 weeks travelling in NZ that we felt miss led or more accurately overstated as another reviewer wrote. It was to be our one eagerly awaited kayaking tour. Thinking we would be kayaking for nearly 4 hours we booked an extra night in expensive Mt Cook in case we were worn out. Having visited the Franz and Fox we were excited to be able to get up close to a glacier. We obviously only looked at the pictures on the website and did not read the info properly, our fault I understand.
In all I estimate we were kayaking for less than an hour, possibly because conditions were so calm it made the paddling very easy but with no ice bergs to be seen and not being allowed within two kilometres of the glacier there was nothing to do but sit in our kayaks and peer into the far far distance. Our guide the Slovakian was friendly enough but had a very hard job to make the trip remotely interesting after he had told us the few facts he knew.
The lake water was dark grey and the surrounding ground and rocks were dark grey and the two km away glacier was dark grey. It was sad to think we gave up kayaking Milford Sound and any number of other incredibly beautiful places to pay almost $300 for an hours paddling.
The other 3 hours were somehow spent on the shortish drive, walk and unloading, loading the kayaks.
The other 4 people on our tour were lovely and it was good hearing the sounds coming from the glacier. I would check first if there are any icebergs to get near to or take the horrible noisy speedboats that are allowed closer and save the kayaking for somewhere better.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlie H, Owner at Glacier Sea Kayaking-Day Tours, responded to this review, March 5, 2013
Hi and thanks for your feedback on the trip. I understand how you must feel if there were no bergs on the lake at the time. Unfortunately the day you were on the lake there were no bergs as I understand - this is usually not the case and mother nature didn't provide us with many during the month of Jan and Feb. Yes the lake is grey in colour due to the Glacier rock flour and yes the glacier has morraine rock at its terminal.
Again unfortunately you just missed the big glacier calving we experienced in late Feb and we now have millions of tons of ice floating on the lake. I'm sure if we could take you out on the lake now you would have an incredible experience to say the least. We have the biggest berg we've ever had.
If you find yourselves back here at Mt Cook please call me and we'll organise another trip for you for which I'm sure you wont be disappointed. Can you let me know the day you did your trip?
We've had thousands of happy clients who have experienced our trips on the glacier lakes. It's unfortunate that they have not made their comments know on trip advisor.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Charlie Hobbs
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Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
208 reviews 208 reviews
51 attraction reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
127 helpful votes 127 helpful votes
“Overpriced but,”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

a most enjoyable experience so I guess that's all that matters.

I think overpriced because there's so little time on the water and you as a customer have to do all the work setting up your kayak, getting it into the water then returning it to it's rightful place when finished.
Time consuming if in a large group.

It also takes about 15 minutes to walk to the starting point so time is taken there.
Perhaps about 1 hr spent on the water.

For safety reason you don't get very close (about 2km) to the Glacier but do get a close up of an iceberg.

Charlie is a great guide with amazing knowledge and experience.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Overstated & Overpriced”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

I too had an average experience largely let down by the slovak guide. Uninterested and with very little communication (maybe two or three sentences the whole trip) he made the group feel awkward and confused as to what was going on. You cannot get up n close with glacier for safety reason and 2k away is the closest you will get. Disappointing to say the least. All in all it was a disappointing trip, and at $145 per person i thought this was extremely overpriced. Knowing what the trip involves and how close you actually get to the glacier i would be prepared to pay $80 - $100. Even at $100 i still would have been disappointed. Would definitely not recommend this to friends.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlie H, Owner at Glacier Sea Kayaking-Day Tours, responded to this review, March 5, 2013
Hi Sam
I talked to the guide about the comments you made about the day. He told me that you guys did some really good paddling around the lake and visited ice bergs and got to take photos etc beside them. The paddling conditions were good on that day which meant your group was able to visit the places of interest and that each stop he told the group about the area. When conditions are good for paddling to area to area to commentary will be shorter. Yes we stop a safe distance from the front face of the glacier. This is for the guests and guides protection and fulfills our safety plan requirements for operating on the glacier lake.
We've just had a massive calving in late Feb which produced millions of tons of ice which is now floating up and down the lake - very spectacular!! Comments I've received from other guests who were on that trip were positive.
No where in our advertising does it say we go up to the terminal face of the Tasman Glacier. I do heli hiking trips which will take you up onto the ice.
We've had thousands of happy clients who have had an incredible experience on the Tasman Lake. Let me know if you are up this way again.

I look forward to your reply

Charlie Hobbs
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