West Coast Scenic Waterways

We Chat with the Owners: Gavin & Cindy

We have been working with Gavin & Cindy at Scenic Waterways ever since we first opened on the West Coast Wilderness Trail.  Each season we get constant praise having put clients into the Kotuku Cottages at Scenic Waterways where the clients rave about their experience.  But be warned – with limitations on the number of beds available, this spot gets booked out quickly!

Can you tell me what the Scenic Waterways product is?  How are our clients experiencing this?

‘Cruise, Stay & Play’ pretty much sums up what we aim to provide onsite at Scenic Waterways. We are a family owned and run retreat offering eco cruises and freedom kayaking into one of New Zealand’s most high value lowland wetlands and white bait sanctuaries.

Our accommodation offers all the comforts of home and we aim to serve up nutritious and hearty meals on site. Hopefully, best of all, is our personal undivided attention 🙂

Our guests generally arrive at our place late afternoon after their first day riding the West Coast Wilderness Trail, have an ice cold drink on the porch, followed by hot showers in their units. Those that have booked in for the sunset eco cruise walk down to the boat with Gavin to enjoy a relaxing and picturesque cruise up the Mahinapua creek and into Lake Mahinapua, learning all the local history on board. Not to be missed if you want to soak in some of New Zealand’s beautiful rainforests and wetlands! BYO on board..can be purchased on site. If meals are pre booked, these courses are enjoyed on site between activities…or on board!


Ignoring Covid-19 for the moment, how was the season?  Can you tell us about your best group who stayed?

We experienced a large increase in trade last season, especially after opening up our two new units…’Sunset’ and ‘Sunrise’. We feel so privileged to have hosted so many wonderful guests!

I don’t think it’s possible to pick the ‘best’ group that stayed with us last season!?

There was the musical group who sang, “Cindy, oh Cindy, send us a letter and we’ll be back” to me at breakfast time, the ones who mothered and cared for me while Gavin was in hospital, the couple who posted me a bottle opener, the many emails and thank you letters, the valuable mentoring chats around the dining table after dinner, the advice and laughs…we love and appreciate all our guests!

Do you get out on the Wilderness Trail much?

We love the Wilderness Trail and regularly enjoy a section of it, especially in the quiet season when we have more time at our disposal. So wonderful to see visitors enjoying it so much!

Your imagery features the Kotuku ( White Heron ) a lot.  If I come to stay, what options are there to see these beautiful birds!

The Kotuku/White Heron are certainly a highlight for those that get to see these beautiful and graceful wetland birds. The Mahinapua waterways and the West Coast Wilderness Trail merge only 50m below our retreat. Book on the Sunset Cruise or freedom kayak while staying with us for the best chance of seeing them up close in their natural habitat.