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“Outstanding experience”

Driftwood Retreat & Eco-Tours
Book In Advance
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and up
2-Hour Royal Spoonbill Tour by Kayak
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and up
Half-Day Wairau Lagoon Tour from Blenheim
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Driftwood Retreat & Eco-tours brings you close to nature in the peaceful Wairau Lagoon, South of Picton. Stay at the cosy eco-lodge by an eight hectare wetland. Book a guided tour by kayak or van into the heart of the nearby lagoon where 92 species of bird has been identified. Hear about the human and natural history of the area by your friendly guide. All tours are complimented with homemade cooking.
Blenheim, New Zealand
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Outstanding experience”
Reviewed March 11, 2014

We have done both the Kayak trip and the four wheel drive trip and thoroughly enjoyed both. Wonderful scenery and bird life. Will Parson has an amazing knowledge of the area and if all of this is not enough, the home made food he made was excellent. I would thoroughly recommend any tour with Will, but particularly the evening Kayak tour.

Visited April 2013
Thank Sontie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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175 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
“Evening Kayaking”
Reviewed March 1, 2014

My husband and I used a travel agent to book our trip so we really had no idea what to expect for the kayaking adventure. Will was wonderful. What we hadn't realized was that the kayaking was an all evening adventure in which Will had personally made us dinner. It was valentines Day and he even included a chocolate cake! Will was very knowledgeable about the area in which we were kayaking including the fauna and flora. He was able to answer all of our questions. By the time we returned the sun was setting and it was gorgeous to watch the sunset from the river. But the best part of the whole kayaking experience was Will's Dog Vix. He climbed aboard my kayak and spent almost the whole time enjoying the ride from the front of my kayak. He was a little dog with a huge personality! My husband and I highly recommend using Will in the future.

Visited February 2014
Review collected in partnership with this attraction

Thank Sarah J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Three day conducted tour”
Reviewed February 25, 2014 via mobile

Eight friends were taken by Will on a 3 day tour through the Alpine valleys and off road tracks from Murchison to Blenheim via Hanmer Springs. Will had planned the trip, provided food and some accommodation, and provided a huge amount of information about the flaura and fauna, the Maori and pre-Maori inhabitants, and the geology of this earthquake prone area. We all had a wonderfully enjoyable time with a truly generous man.

Visited February 2014
Thank David L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
250 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 209 helpful votes
“Night Kayaking!”
Reviewed February 23, 2014 via mobile

Well I remember the REM song night swimming but night kayaking that is a bit different! It was in the daytime when we met at 4.00pm but by the time we got back at 10.00pm it was pitch black! The stars were stunning and to kayak just by star and moonlight was an experience I shall never forget. At the time we felt a little out of our comfort zone and wished we had been back just a little earlier but at all times we felt safe with Will who took very good care of us. On reflection the next day we realised what a wonderful experience we had that evening. We started out with a tour of the garden and the wetland around the house before setting off in the Kayaks around 6.00pm. Were paddled with the tide enjoyed a drink on a sandbank and then a lovely picnic and walk on a peninsular with quite a history. We enjoyed the birds and Wills interesting commentary. We could not set off back till 9.00pm because of the tide and had quite a sharp workout paddling the 5kms back on the ebb. We have paddled before and this might have been a little challenging for the complete novice although the younger ones might have shrugged it off!! I would definitely go again. Thank you will for a great experience and sharing this very beautiful part of Blenheim away from the vineyards. If you are an outdoors lover you should definitely think about doing this. My only feedback to Will would be to tell guests a little more what is happening as we weren't too sure what was happening at different times!!!

Visited February 2014
Thank Robinhood1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“A Magical Visit to Blenheim's Wetlands”
Reviewed January 23, 2014

A kayaking trip with Driftwood should not be missed while you are in Blenheim. Marlborough is certainly known for its vineyards, but taking some time to see the area's other natural beauty is a must. We went out at about 6pm with Will - our fantastic guide and Driftwood's owner - and kayaked down the peaceful Opawa River until we hit Big Lagoon. We were able to see many beautiful waterbirds up close and then watched a great sunset from the shore of the lagoon before paddling back. Will is an excellent guide and took wonderful care of us, offering us tea, sandwiches, and wonderful baked goods (all made by him) along the way. This trip will be a very memorable in Marlborough for us.

Visited January 2014
Thank Travelster22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oscar2NewZealand, Owner at Driftwood Retreat & Eco-Tours, responded to this review, January 31, 2014
Another great tour with some visitors who wanted to know more about Marlborough and what it has to offer for those with an adventurous spirit. I think we ticked all the boxes and was rewarded with some great suggestions on how we can strive to improve; thank you.
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