The Kiah Wilderness Tours

Kiah Wilderness Tours takes you on a guided small group tour of a pristine coastal river. Brimming with fish life and skirted by tall forests and green pastures, this river is renowned for its untouched beauty. The sounds of birds is like an orchestra, with kingfishers and sea eagles all vying for attention. Glide along on quality kayaks – so easy to paddle that even beginners have no problems. Enjoy home-cooked morning tea by the river on a sandy beach, along with the best quality plunge coffee or herbal teas. This is about seeing nature at your own pace, in the quiet surrounds of a wandering tidal river that is always changing. This tour rates highly on every review platform. Why not try it yourself? Book online at www.kiahwildernesstours.com.au .

Who are the people behind your business

Jenny & Arthur Robb have 65 acres on the beautiful Towamba (known as the Kiah) River, just south of Eden. Both are passionate about kayaking – and the river itself, having paddled for 20 years. Jenny started the business in 2014; it slowly grew to need both partners full time. They now have on site camping, take cruise ship passengers, and have a school-based trainee – Imogen.

Tell us something quirky or memorable about you, your customers or your business

We often take international visitors for a kayak tour, especially American cruise ship passengers. They tend to be super-excited about anything that is ‘typical Australian’ – the tea-tree on the edge of the river (oh that’s where they get tea-tree oil from!), the trees (‘are those eucalyptus trees’?), will we see any koalas? And do you really have a lot of kangaroos because we’ve only seen them in a wildlife park. So we rounded a curve in the river recently with passengers from a jazz fans and musicians cruise and there were some of the local mob. They then proceeded to hop into the water and swim across the river – in front of a bunch of visiting Americans. We interviewed the guests on our phones during morning tea and got the best reactions we could ask for. I think they’ll remember it!

Reviewed 3 January 2020 via mobile (Sucre, Bolivia): It was our son's birthday ...... what a fabulous start to the day! Great equipment, organisation and attention to detail by lovely Jenny, .... aided by Imogen ..... for our group of 6. We glided around in perfect tranquility, passing the occasional fisherman and saw lots of..... stingrays, and many birds.....The best bit was the picnic on a sandbank, ....... birthday cake (pronounced the best chocolate cake ever by the birthday boy!) and hot tea and hot towels for our hands! I can't think of how they could have topped our morning!

What is a thing you love about your business?

Seeing the reaction on a guest’s face when they witness an extraordinary example of nature at its finest. Our river is very clean, calm and virtually untouched. When we arrive at the boat ramp, we often hear ‘wow’ and know we are about to enjoy people enjoying where we live. We love to share our passion for the place with our guests and they often comment that they can see we love our job. We are being paid to do something we always did ourselves anyway. We do love to kayak and we do love this river. We are just sharing it – and creating memories for our guests. This was obvious when so many past guests checked on us when the 2020 bushfires impacted us. We feel privileged to have met so many amazing people.

What is the company background?

Jen was running a not-for-profit marine research and education centre and it was tough, always trying to find funds to continue programs. She decided it was time to take a break and a friend suggested she start kayak tours on the river “because you’re always posting these amazing photos and showing off how you start your day with a kayak….”. The idea was born. 18 months of serious planning (and the investment of all our savings) later, Jen started offering tours. We’ve grown from offering only 1 tour to 4, added camping and walking tours, and about to add a whole weekend of activities. We are proud of our excellent reviews and work by the mantra of “nil tolerance of a bad review”. Top quality service is key, together with being prepared, organised and improving on the promise.

What is your ultimate vision for your business?

A business that was complete in every way: organised, professional, collaborative, innovative. A business that showcased that you can achieve success if you seek the right advice, keep abreast of trends and changes, collaborate and meet with like-minded business people. You must enjoy what you do or it’s not worth doing. So our ultimate vision would be: ‘to be a sustainable, niche ecotourism business showcasing the unique and beautiful features of a sandy tidal river on the Far South Coast of NSW.’

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