Waiatoto River Safari
Waiatoto River Safari
5
SafarisBoat ToursEco ToursNature & Wildlife Tours
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
About
Waiatoto River Safari. New Zealand's only jet boat tour from the ocean to the Alps. You will experience a minimum of 2 hours of extraordinary nature and exceptional beauty only seen on this trip. Experience the history of Gondwana land, smell the rainforest as you walk softly through the dripping ferns with the sparkling clear light shimmering, with the snowy peaks as your backdrop. Your experienced local guide will lead you through the ancient river, still untouched as it was thousands years ago when the Maori first roamed the land, the great Moa bird and Haast eagle still ruled the ancient forests. You will experience the magical, breathtaking beauty of the Te Wahipounamu, the Māori name for the South West New Zealand World Heritage area and take home memories that will have you yearning to return once more.
Haast, New Zealand
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Tours and Tickets by Waiatoto River Safari

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles252 reviews
Excellent
237
Very good
12
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
1

Reynard1
Auckland, New Zealand291 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2021 • Couples
We were two couples travelling in the Haast area looking for something on the river. We came across this trip and are so glad we did. Ruth, our driver and guide made it all worth while. There was a good deal of excitement with the jet boat ride while travelling up and later down the river without it being just for show. Her knowledge of the area and her ability to relate this to those on board was excellent. A chance to get off the boat well up stream and walk-in the bush added to the experience. A coffee and a scone on the edge of the river was a great touch. This is such a beautiful part of the country and we were so privileged to have a local share her knowledge and experience with us. Would highly recommend this trip and will do so to all our friends as they travel this way. Thanks Ruth, and your young daughter who assisted with the guiding today. 🦊
Written February 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Oh thank you Reynard for such a lovely review. I was really thrilled about reading this because we do put a lot into relating with each client and making sure we can give the very best experience available to each and every individual. All the best, Ruth, Wayne and Daughter Aru.
Written March 14, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Christine8046
Switzerland54 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Great experience. After seeing the rivers and creaks only from the driving. It is awesome to follow the river upstream. The boat is comfortable and you get warm gear (I would recommend to wear warm clothing). It did rain a bit, but no problem. The boat has a "glass"-roof. You stay dry. Wyne gave a lot of information and it was interesting talking to him. Really worth the money.
Written February 14, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Great to hear you thought it value for the money. We are really aware that everything is so expensive in the world these days and we really like to add as much as we can to the experience so people walk away feeling like they have created a memory that will last a life-time. Kind regards, Ruth & Wayne.
Written February 18, 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Padders_UK
England13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mention Roger Crow to anyone in Haast, and the response will be "oh yeah, I know Roger - good bloke". This is the guy who got his jetboat out and ran a three-hour trip for just the two of us!

Unlike the big commercial jetboats that you find in most parts of New Zealand, this trip probably wouldn't take more than about 8 people at a time, so it feels a lot more personal. You start on a side channel close to the sea, then travel upstream with lots of stops for Roger to talk about the local wildlife, geology and history, until you reach the Shark's Tooth - a set of serious rapids that make this the turnaround point. After about an hour and a half in the boat, it's time to get out and stretch your legs for a bit.

The way back down is completed in about half the time, with all the speed, spins and close encounters with obstacles that you'd expect from a jetboating trip. You continue on to the sea, then along another channel through the rainforest, dodging stumps and fallen trees, before returning to the start point.

If this isn't the best jetboating in New Zealand, I'd be very surprised, and I can't imagine how anyone could beat it.
Written January 13, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
I know this is a late response to an awesome comment left by Padders_UK, I would like to thank-you belatedly on behalf of Rodger. I am The Eco Man, Capt. John I have taken over Waiatoto River Safari's and Hannah’s Homestead, I have done the trip with Rodger about 4 years ago and have striven to bring the same excellence if not better to the journey, which truly is exceptional, I concentrate on the Nature aspect and categorise the trip into 3 phases all as good as the other, all focused on the rarest and unique temperate forests in the World and the unusual and ancient aspects of it.
Written December 2, 2011
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Luxgb
Gold Coast, Australia35 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2018 • Couples
We had an absolutely fantastic afternoon with Wayne and Ruth. What a privilege to be able to travel into this World Heritage area with small numbers. Mother nature sent the rain - but that added to the scenery - mist on the water and all those waterfalls. Great commentary on the area by Wayne. A highlight of our NZ trip and highly recommended.
Written January 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your fantastic comments! We think the tour is lovely with mist and rain too and being just a little family run business, it means a lot to hear you like the personal touch. All the best, Ruth , Wayne and Aru.
Written February 4, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Brian D
Burswood, Australia11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2016 • Couples
Not a thrill seeker's type of ride, but a wonderful trip up a wild river into the mountains with an easy walk in the rain forest, then down to the ocean waves, then up a quiet creek. It was exciting going through some of the rapids but it never felt dangerous.
The scenery is just breathtaking and the boat takes you into places that would otherwise take days to walk into.
Our guide (Wayne) was very knowledgeable about the area and stopped frequently to explain things.
Take lots of warm clothing and a waterproof layer - it rains lots over this side of the country. I was sitting up the back of the boat and found the engine noise a bit loud after a while, so you may want to take ear plugs if you have sensitive ears, but it wasn't extreme. I just put my fingers in my ears for part of the trip :-)
Written April 10, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Brain D, thank you for your review. We appreciate you taking time out of your day to tell others what you thought of our tour. I am thrilled you enjoyed it so much even though it was raining. I have had plenty of return clientele who say it is just as spectacular in rain as it is in sun, only different. There is the general thought that it rains a lot here, however it is actually a lovely temperate climate with lots of clear sunshine as well. The upside of the rain are the waterfalls and rain forest. Even on sunny days, I suggest covering up and taking spare clothing as you are traveling into the Southern Alps and it can drop temperature or weather can change in the mountains. That said we always offer the iconic kiwi Swanndri jacket which is more like a big rug for those who would like extra warmth. With the boat's engine installed at the back it can be noticed of course, so good idea to bring ear plugs for those with sensitive ears, otherwise people are always welcome to sit closer to the front of the boat. Safe travels and we hope to see you over to the stunning West Coast again someday. Kind regards, Ruth and Wayne.
Written April 15, 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Darshni S
London, United Kingdom22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
It was a very personal jetboat tour with lots of historical and kiwi conservation information which we very much enjoyed. The scenery was incredible and the 2.5 hours went by way too fast! Highly recommend! Also very rarely get to go somewhere as a tourist and be the only boat on the river :)
Written November 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hello and thank you for choosing our tour and reviewing us. Yes we are very remote but fortunate to be close to the main road so that tourists may enjoy our slice of paradise. Safe travels and it was lovely to meet you all. Ruth, Wayne & Aru.
Written November 29, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

marcsoong
Philippines73 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I looked at a review that said it was overpriced: RIDICULOUS. It was worth every cent. The couple Ruth and Wayne were amazing. Such a personalized experience. You know what? The experience is probably worth EVEN MORE than what you pay for. The amazing boat we used which was so impressive is engineered and created by Wayne himself. They are actually even licensed pilots - thjs alone shows their capabities. The place has no mobile phone signal so all communication is done via email. They hope to have signal soon though.

Rain??? We LOVED IT. Do not be discouraged by bad weather. It was amazing to go through rains and different conditions. It was cold but we were given extra jackets to use. It’s A RAINFOREST! Rain is normal! :-) tell you frankly, the rain added so much character to our trip.

Again, don’t look at the forecast and get discouraged. Contact them and make a booking - it is worth every second, every penny spent.

I can’t emphasize enough - don’t let rain stop you! Rain or shine it will be awesome!

I also read about insects - you are in the outdoors, expect anything. All I can say is we were taken care of extremely well every step of the way and were all extremely comfortable.

This trip turned out to be one of the highlights of my NZ trip. If you are thinking about it, just do it you won’t regret it.

It was educational, exciting/ adventurous, relaxing, breathtaking... the list goes on.

I won’t give any spoilers, go see it for yourself.

Enjoy!!!
Written June 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mlsoong, thank you so much for this outstanding review. We really enjoyed meeting your family and are pleased you felt - as we do - it is extremely good value for money. It is difficult to find an activity that exceeds over 2 hours, for every member of the family, for what our fare is, these days. Rain, we love it too, it is such a shame when people are upset by rain, without it we would have no rainforest and water gives life to the whole Earth! The roof on the boat helps keep most of it away from people, if they are adverse. I love the jackets and always encourage people to take them, even if it is only for covering their knees. So pleased you all appreciated our tour for what it is, Wayne, Aru and I love going up the river and for us it is a privilege to take people out. To learn you loved it as much as we do, means a great deal. Happy Holidays and hope you return to NZ one day. Best regards, Ruth & Wayne.
Written July 10, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Rachel Kerr
Haast, New Zealand14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Couples
What a great way to spend my birthday! Ruth greeted my partner and I with a friendly, warm welcome and check in was fast and easy. Wayne was our tour guide who clearly knew a lot about the area and took us to places it would take hours to get to on foot. He is an excellent driver and we felt very safe in his hands. He was attentive to everyone's needs, especially around ensuring people were protected from the notorious West Coast sandflies!! The afternoon tea was a nice surprise - Ruth is a fantastic cook! This tour is great value for money, provides in-depth commentary about the local area, and we highly recommend it to people of all ages.
Written April 28, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Rachel, thank you for your lovely review. We were thrilled to learn it was a birthday highlight. It is wonderful and easy way to access an area that is not accessed in other ways unless walking or kayaking for days is on your agenda. We recommend to people to dress as if they were going for a light hike, long trousers, boots/shoes and socks go a long way to protect from Sandflies - but we always carry repellant for guests to use at anytime. The afternoon tea is a comforting addition for our Winter tours but we also invite guests to bring their own snacks on the Summer tours, especially for families with hungry youngsters. Kind regards, Ruth and Wayne.
Written May 3, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

kirsti1961
Brisbane, Australia22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Family
Our family of adult children all enjoyed our trip with Wayne. He shared lots of information about this beautiful area of the West Coast. A great tour which includes jetting up river to a bush walk spot which was gorgeous, both for it's views and the bush, and then back down to the inlet and a stop in quiet water area. The views were magnificent and the time at each stop quite sufficient to take a good look around.Although a bit off the usual tourist track,this is really worth the effort! Wayne was very friendly and happy to impart this knowledge -he obviously knows and cares lots about this special place.
Written January 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
What a great description of our special place and a lovely review - Thanks Kirsti. We do care about this place and also the people who visit us because in this day and age it is important that a person feels cared about and not just another number in a maddening crowd. Being off the usual tourist tracks does have advantages! Enjoy the rest of your holiday. Kind regards, Ruth.
Written January 22, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Warren H
1,991 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Family
This is probably the most fun our family had so far on Xmas day as Ruth and Wayne, the operator of Waiatoto River Safari, kindly agreed to take our booking. Wayne is very familiar with the local sceneries and also extremely skillful in navigating the rapids. The jet boat holds a full load of 14 people and flys on the Waiatoto River. Wayne also took the passengers to trek in the rain forest. If you ever visit or stop at Haast, don’t miss this ride.
Written December 29, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you Warren for your interest in our tour and also for taking the time to review us, it is highly appreciated. We were thrilled that you were able to join us on Christmas day -it turned out well for us all and do enjoy the rest of your holiday in NZ.
Written December 30, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Waiatoto River Safari - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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