The tour was magical and surpassed all my expectations.
Will is completely professional, very knowledgeable and knows when to talk and when to let the surroundings speak for themselves. The perfect guide, Will is always quietly mindful of his clients’ welfare.
This is a ‘must-do’ for anybody who is interested in birds, history and/or kayaking through beautiful surroundings.
It is great to find someone with compatable passion and reverence for nature - Will is the man! I was priveleged to share a morning and double kayak with Will on a rewarding photographic trip on the lagoons at his back door His easy manner and obliging and flexible approach gave me a great experience. His knowledge of the local flora and fauna equals his wholesome cooking - muffins and a choice of 2 cakes was due reward for paddling for several hours. 9 out of 10 leaves room for Will to continually strive to enhance his service and I have no doubt he will
Three fun days with Will and Rose staying at the B&B and enjoying their wonderful hospitality. The kayaking on the Opawa River to the Wairau bar was very enjoyable (despite a little rain) with great views of Royal Spoonbills and other birds. The back country trip up the Black Birch range into the alpine flora was also memorable and unmissable, and it was worthwhile taking time at Lake Grassmere on the way back too. At the farm, there was plenty of time to explore the wetland and even spot the rare vagrant Glossy Ibis pair among the Pied Stilts. Will is a knowledgeable and engaging guide. If you're near Marlborough, do take a few days to have a much more in depth experience of this region with Driftwood Ecotours. Totally recommend.
Driftwood Ecotours responds:
We were so lucky to experience a variety of fauna and flora and sharing with new and old friends is always rewarding. Having the glossy ibis on our own covenanted wetland is a real bonus.
We had a wonderful day up Black Birch mountain finding plants (a Penwiper behold!), Ranunculus insigna and many more. The 360 views were magnificent around Marlborough and across to Wellington. Will was a great host and we learnt a lot of the human and natural history ending the day with a dry land bird watching tour at the wetland being too windy for kyaking. The food was excellent and the hospitality great. Thanks Will and Rose.
Driftwood Ecotours responds:
This was a fun repeat business trip and the highlight was seeing the flowering penwiper which one couple have had to wait 47 years to see! We at Diriftwood have been blessed with good luck over the years and it always a pleasure to share what Marlborough has to offer.
We had a very interesting kayaking tour on the Opawa River to the sea shore. Will is a very keen guide and looked good after us, safety- and food wise (yummy cakes). Even we had a few fights with our kayak, we had a good time and saw a lot of birds and nice spots along the river shore and a t the coast.
Will has a tremendous knowledge about birds, the history of the place and the area. All was very personal because it is a small but very professional business. We enjoyed it very much to spend some hours with him on and along the waters.
Thank you very much again Will for this good time. We will book again!
This was a 3 hr kayak trip with Driftwood Ecotours on the Opawa river. Very enjoyable we had great calm conditions. Will was informative and clear with his safety and trip briefing. The gear is in very good condition and we had a choice of single or double kayaks all of which were sturdy and stable. We were a group of six -all near beginners. It took approx an hour to really get the hang of the kayak and the current etc. The current was gentle but does have a play on the boat.I felt that you do need a reasonable fitness level- not extreme but it helps with your enjoyment in the single kayaks. The surroundings were stunning- what a way to get to know your backyard! We saw loads of birds and Will's knowledge of the wildlife and history of the area was awesome. We beached the kayak easily for our cuppa stop and Will shared his homemade muffins yum. I shall definitely be booking a longer trip in the future Thanks heaps:)
We both had an excellent kayaking adventure. Even the stiff wind on the paddle out dropped away completely after dusk for the homeward leg and didn’t dampen our enjoyment. The return leg started with a full moon rising over the horizon and lighting up the estuary water, a sight we’ll never forget. As newish residents in Marlborough we learned a great deal of the local history and enjoyed Will’s enthusiasm for and knowledge of the wildlife of the Wairau Lagoon area. We got so close to the birdlife, wonderful photo opportunities. Will bakes a great cake and was the perfect host; even the dinner napkins had a bird print! A thoroughly enjoyable evening out on the water.
Driftwood Ecotours responds:
This was a great evening spent with a couple new to Marlborough who were on tour to learn about this unique area and its rich birdlife. This is NZ's oldest archaeological site been home to the Moa hunters and has a special feeling to it which they really enjoyed.
Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.
THANK YOU Will for an excellent afternoon with Kiwi Conservation Club and your Driftwood Ecotours yesterday afternoon. You made us all feel safe and confident with our kayaks and your local knowledge/ stories were great :) Loved info about local Moriori burial sites, the shag colonies (spotted chicks!), mid river maimai, oyster catchers and the SS Waverley...AND we were back in time for the rugby!!!! Thanks :)
Driftwood Ecotours responds:
Great fun with some very observant and knowledgeable children who were keen to learn.
Fantastic experience for our family. Warm welcome, lots of knowledge of area and history, very patient with our chattersome kids and in using kayaks. Good weather, great food and coffee (including Will's muffins). Our children were able to stop and learn about different birds, crabs, spiders and plants. Totally recommend this tour and would love to do it all again sometime.
This was a very worthwhile tour. Originally, we were schduled to do the evening kayak/bird watching. However, due to unusually windy conditions Will improvised. We took a 4WD Tour over to the coast and explored in the deep rocky chasms. I had never been in such a place and we had it all to ourselves. He had a light dinner prepared which was very wholesome. Will definitely enjoys what he does.
This tour was a definite highlight of our two-week honeymoon in New Zealand. We found Will by happenstance -- a fellow visitor at a local winery mentioned that he had just received a flyer. We had been looking for a low-key kayaking experience, so this fit the bill perfectly. Will was completely accommodating of our schedule, booking the trip on Good Friday, and made sure we had plenty of time to explore before our ferry ride that evening. And the trip itself was truly wonderful. Paddling along the lagoon, taking in the birdlife and enjoying the scenery -- Will was a great, laid-back guide, who obviously takes great pride in the area that surrounds his home, and who has a clear ecological ethic, too. A delightful homemade lunch was an added bonus. Definitely a great way to see a part of New Zealand that most visitors miss. And a delightful way to spend an afternoon in any case!
Driftwood Ecotours responds:
Thank you so much for all these wonderful reviews. God created this absorbing arena of nature, history and wildlife it gives me great pleasure to share it with others.
On a sadder note our logo dog "Tommy" passed away on the 20th of April and it was he who gave so much confidence too many on our tours.
We both met up with Willin the"I" carpark for what turned out to be a memorable evening. Having then joined up with Les and Yvonne from Belfast we proceeded to Will's house. A short history lesson and explanation as to what he hoped we would see and then down to the river. Niether of us had kayaked before so a certain measure of concerned expectation. However, a short lesson from Will and off we paddled on this beautiful river. We saw wonderful birds, paddled all the way down to Bar and back in the dark. Will has a fund of knowledge that he is delighted to impart and is a delightful companion making it all a memorable evening for us all.
This was truly an outstanding experience! We did the 4WD tour and hike, complete with a fabulous lunch. Will, the tour guide, has a tremendous knowledge of not only the birds, but also other wildlife, as well as the history of the area. He was very friendly and entertaining and made the day thoroughly enjoyable. We would highly recommend this tour to not only tourists, but local Marlborough people. This is such a surprising landscape.
This tour was phenomenal. Will is very knowledgable about the wildlife, the flora and the history of the country. His delicious food makes for unforgettable stops after kayaking on beautiful waterways. We enjoyed tea and cakes just feet from a c tree full of Pied Shags feeding their young. We paddled on, never seeing another human, just a large variety of birds.The piece de la resistance was a casual dinner at sunset. We were witness to hundreds of black swans floating on the golden/pink water. Truly magnificent!
We had a great trip with Will Parsons, the owner and guide for this outing. Will took time to explain to us about the history of the area we would be seeing, which helped set the stage for a great Kayak trip. We went out in the evening which was perfect in terms of low wind, no bugs, great light for photos, and a lot of bird life. Will served us tea and then an evening meal in a beautiful setting out on the lagoon. We saw heaps of birds and came back in the dark. It was magical.
This tour was superb! Friendly welcome, nice kayaks, easily navigable waterways, plenty of birds, intelligent and informed commentory by Will, delicious muffins and real coffee, a bit of history of the river, more kayaking and birds, amazing cloud formations at sunset, more great food and a spectacular kayak home by moonlight. Highly recommended.
We found this tour provided entertainment on multiple levels: history, birdlife, scenery and WIll himself. On a brilliant summer night, the light transforms the landscape continuously throughout your sojourn into the lagoons! Fantastic trip- thank you Will and Rose
An afternoon with Will from Driftwood Eco tours is highly recommended if you would like to learn more about birdlife and the history of the land in Marlborough. We spent a great afternoon paddling down the Opawa River while listening to Will's stories and admiring the beautiful scenery. Being on a kayak can get you very close to the birds for amazing photo opportunities! We stopped at the river mouth for great home baked scones and sandwiches and even our gluten free companion's dietary needs where catered for by Will. We paddled back at sunset & the last 20minutes where enjoyed watching the stars - a great & very humbling experience.
This is not hard work like sometimes the case might be with sea kayaking, and is highly recommended for people of all fitness levels and ages. Thank you Will for an unforgettable afternoon!
Driftwood Ecotours gave us a wonderful half day, kayaking gently through the Wairau Lagoons. Highlights were seeing a wide variety of birdlife from water level, taking photographs, paddling through waterways not easily accessible in any other way, finding out what is really down there in the maze of the Wairau Lagoons; stopping for a delicious home-baked snack; learning some of the history of the river; and all at the pace we chose. It is a treasure to be explored and i loved every minute of it.
One of the most amazing experiences of my life! Can’t stop thinking about it. Time stood still. We departed into another ethereal world, paddling through a watery sunlit paradise watching it change to the silvery night scene, absolutely incredible. You could almost touch the wings of silently gliding spoonbills. Will has an amazing wealth of knowledge about all the birdlife and the land…. Wow and seriously the best muffin maker. You couldn’t get a better guide. Thanyou very much!!!!!!!
Amazing evening - truly one of the most magical experiences I have had. Beautiful scenery on the river, dusk, stars, birds and nature. A wonderful trip: Will was fantasticly knowledgeable and made AMAZING muffins! :D Thank you so very very much.
Has to rank as one of the most brilliant things I've experienced in my life - really cool. Kayaking along Opawa River "smoky river", beautiful reflections, shags taking flight, awesome morning glory muffin break near the old pilot house, the sound of birdsong, the peace, and then after a great picnic tea, the sunset, the wonderful kayak back in the dusk, etheral spoonbills on the inky river with a full moon - something out of a Japanese painting.... couldn't rate it higher, it was brilliant must-do experience.
This kayaking tour was the highlight of our weekend in Blenheim. From the moment you meet him, you feel like Will is an old friend. He takes the time to get to know you and the whole tour is carried out at a nice relaxed pace. Will is very knowledgeable and provides you with interesting information about the surrounding area and bird life. Will knows how to provide the ultimate customer expierence, ensuring you are comfortable and safe at all times. The food was top notch and as stated on his website all home-made. The sunset we experienced was just magical and now, thanks to Will, we will always have a very special memory of our weekend in Blenheim. Of course we also have to acknowledge Will's wife Rose who was our welcoming committee upon our return, bringing us inside to sit by the fire and making us a cuppa. We mustn't forget Tommy the dog either, who was a lovely tour guide and a very good kayaker.
Interesting scenery and commentary. Personalised service appreciated.
Spectacular views with a knowledgable, interesting, personal guide. A unique New Zealand experience not to be missed.
Fantastic trip, beautiful scenery and I loved seeing all the waders and sea birds in their natural habitat.
Will made the trip memorable with his huge knowledge of the area and was able to point out all the different sea birds and I was able to get up close to them and take photographs. Will has a huge knowledsge of the birds living there. To top it all off I was treated to a delicious breakfast of fresh salmon ommlette on the barbaque and delicous homemade muffins. I would highly reccommend this trip and especially to those who would like to experience a peaceful picturesque part of New Zealand.,amongst amazing bird life. Thank you Will for a memeorable day Julia Marshall
Aoife & Colin
We had a brilliant morning. Loads of information + a great, friendly service. Well worth every bit. Yummy muffins.
Everything from Black Swans to pioneer farming - it was great to get Will's local knowledge and go to places that are private access only. Fantastic muffins too!