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“A fantastic experience”

Southern Alps Guiding
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Lockers / storage
Reviewed May 28, 2013

We were in the Mt. Cook area for only a short time but opted to book a day trip with Charlie Hobbs to kayak on Tasman Glacier Lake with icebergs. So glad we did this! This was relaxing from a kayaking perspective, but we needed to have some kayaking experience should we need to move quickly due to iceberg activity. The sights were amazing. We've kayaked in some great places, and we've never had an experience like this one. Charlie obviously enjoys the outdoors and sharing his knowledge with those who choose to explore the Mt. Cook area with him. We would do this again in a hearbeat!

Thank Dawn H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlie H, Owner at Southern Alps Guiding, responded to this reviewResponded June 22, 2013

Hello and thanks so much for your positive review. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed our trip. Isn't is great to see these mighty ice bergs...... and we didn't have to go the the Antarctic to see them!!! We love sharing this experience with our guests and it makes it even more special when we receive such wonderful feedback. Thanks again and look forward to your next visit.

Warmest regards
Charlie Hobbs

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99 - 103 of 116 reviews

Reviewed April 4, 2013

We've learned about the tour in the Mt.Cook info centre with the help of a very friendly lady named Tanya. Booking was quick and easy in the Old Mountaineers cafe for the whole group of 5 Canadians. Good thing we were told the icebergs actually were on the lake at that time, cause there have been times in the past when they were not. Always check before you book! Kayak tour was great, 4 hrs include car trip forth and back and 15 min walk to and from the lake, so in fact you'll be on the water about 2.5 hrs. The view of icebergs around you is astonishing and one can even play with the small ones. The giude and instructor Lyubosh was superfriendly, helpful and very professional. The sea kayak was quite large with enough leg space, so my 6'2" were not a problem. If you were to take your camera on the tour, a) bring some splash protector, a simple plastic bag will work but better have some splash-resistant camera bag with a strap; b) always keep the strap on you neck, so the camera doesn't slip from kayak deck to 300m deep and murky lake waters. $145 NZD per person seem like a bit high price, but the experience is truly unique.

Thank MikhailO11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlie H, Owner at Southern Alps Guiding, responded to this reviewResponded April 7, 2013

Thanks for your review on the trip. We are pleased that you enjoyed the trip. I agree with letting people know when there are bergs on the lake and at the moment, as you know, there are some huge ice bergs out there!!!!!! I agree with the camera situation too. Small cameras fit nicely in the zip pocket at the front of the life jackets but the bigger cameras do need extra care. I'll look a getting more waterproof bags that suit bigger cameras while still being easy to access for photos.
All the best.
Charlie Hobbs

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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?

Thank SlavoAndKetrin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlie H, Owner at Southern Alps Guiding, responded to this reviewResponded 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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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.

Thank dlp39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlie H, Owner at Southern Alps Guiding, responded to this reviewResponded 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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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.

4  Thank gina l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlie H, Owner at Southern Alps Guiding, responded to this reviewResponded 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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