Jet Boating in Queenstown: An Adrenaline Rush with Scenic Views
August 28, 2018
Jet Boating in Queenstown
Being the adventure capital of New Zealand, there are quite a few different adrenaline-filled activities available in Queenstown. The other day we decided to try one of the most popular activities, jet boating! Jet boating in Queenstown is the perfect way to get an adrenaline rush while taking in the amazing views on offer from Lake Wakatipu.
Our Experience Jet Boating in Queenstown
We signed up for KJet’s 1 pm departure. We met at the main pier in Queenstown’s town centre a few minutes before 1 to get geared up. The staff got us huge raincoats and life jackets before taking our picture and getting us seated on the boat.
The boats are really cool actually, they are huge and seat many people (about 14 were on ours but there was definitely room for a couple more.) There are no seatbelts but a handrail to hang onto. The boats are designed to speed through water only a few inches deep and take some crazy sharp turns. Basically, they are designed for an adrenaline rush, and that’s exactly what we got!
Our boat driver first explained to us a little bit about where we would go and some safety procedures. He showed us the arm signals he would give us before we did big spins so we were able to brace ourselves and hold on! We went out a little way into Lake Wakatipu before we did our first 360-degree spin, it was awesome! He made sure everyone was happy to continue on the ride and then we were off down the Kawarau River.
First, we headed out along Lake Wakatipu towards Frankton where we went under a bridge and entered the Kawarau River. We raced toward trees in the water and at the last moment dodged them. We drove right up next to the river bank and weaved around rocks. Every now and then our driver would pump things up with a 360-degree spin leaving us all screaming, laughing, and some of us covered in water at the end. The g-force when we did the spins was crazy, it definitely had my heart pumping.
After going a little way down the Kawarau River, we turned onto the Shotover river. Because of the time of year and weather, the river was particularly low meaning there was lots of shallow areas and sandbars. This meant we had to go fast!
Sure enough, we were literally speeding through the water right next to the sandbars. We were practically gliding on the water and it was pretty cool. We went for a little way up the Shotover River before we turned around to head back to Queenstown.
On the way back, our driver made sure to keep things interesting by going even faster and doing even more spins! We ended the trip laughing having spent an awesome hour out on the water jet boating in Queenstown.
About Jet Boating in Queenstown
The jet boat ride we did with KJet starts right in Queenstown town centre. It speeds through Lake Wakatipu, then Kawarau River, and then the Shotover River. The ride went for an hour and it costs about $100 NZD (prices depend on the season and time of booking.) Anybody from the age of two can ride along, and while it is an adrenaline rush, it isn’t too extreme and is an adventure activity that I think most people would like.
While there are several companies that offer jet boating in Queenstown, we went with KJet. KJet’s ride includes travelling on Lake Wakatipu as well as on both rivers whereas many other companies only offer the ride in one area. The jet boating went for an hour, where many other companies only go for 30 minutes. Seeing both rivers and taking in all the amazing scenery along the way was definitely a highlight!
With our ride with KJet, we also got free entry into the Underwater Observatory in Lake Wakatipu which was an added bonus. You walk down a few stairs underneath the lake’s surface and can look through glass windows to see what is swimming in the lake. When we were there, an eel was swimming right up against the glass!
The ride with KJet was awesome, the staff were professional and overall I would recommend booking with KJet.
Jet Boating in Winter
Jet boating in Queenstown is one of the lake activities that is actually just as good in winter. In fact, in winter the snow covered mountains make the ride that much more scenic.
Lake Wakatipu can be quite cold in winter though and this can turn some people off, however, with the waterproof coat KJet Provided us with, we were all able to remain somewhat dry. That’s not to say you won’t leave with a little fresh water in your hair, but you certainly won’t freeze! The heated handrail on board is also a nice touch and really keeps your hands warm.
To make sure you have the best time jet boating in Queenstown there are a few things you should do to prepare. Make sure to wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Any hats will likely fly off so leave them behind.
They do provide you with a long raincoat with a hood so you don’t need to bring your own. These coats are not warm though, so where a warm jacket underneath especially in the winter!
If you have a Go Pro or other waterproof camera bring it along, there are some great photo opportunities along the way. You could also bring your cell phone and store in under your raincoat while the boat is moving. The driver will stop completely from time to time for photo opportunities where you could safely get your phone out for photos.
Our Final Thoughts
To be completely honest, we didn’t expect much out of jet boating in Queenstown. We thought it would be somewhat average, but after experiencing it for ourselves we realised that it was so much more fun than we originally anticipated. We had a blast! The views from the lake and rivers are also spectacular. We would recommend jet boating in Queenstown to anybody, it is a good adventure activity while still being a sight-seeing experience.