Jet Boating in Queenstown: An Adrenaline Rush with Scenic Views
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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!
For a long time both Bailey and I have wanted to give jet boating a go but really weren’t sure if the price tag was worth the adventure. I mean as far as activities go in Queenstown it’s certainly not the cheapest. We think there may be many other people out there like us and unsure if they should give jet boating a go in Queenstown. So in this post, we want to share our experience to give you a better idea of what to expect and find out if it’s worth it to you!
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 center 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 jet boats are actually much bigger than we first thought and they seat many people (about 14 were on ours but there was definitely room for a couple more.) At this point, I was a little nervous at how such a large boat could navigate the thin and shallow rivers around Queenstown. However, our driver assured us that 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!
On the jet boat, there are no seatbelts but there is a handrail to hang onto. This handrail is actually heated to stop your hands getting cold from the freezing lake water.
Our jet 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 center. K Jet is one of two companies that run jet boating tours right in Queenstown. We chose K Jet because there jet boating tour went for an hour whereas the other company, Go Orange Thunder Jets only did 30-minute trips! Our thinking was if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it right! We also enjoyed the fact that the tour departed from Queenstown and we didn’t have to get transported out to one of the rivers.
Another reason we chose this tour was we got to explore the Kawarau River, Shotover River, and Lake Wakatipu. As mentioned above the tour goes for an hour which was a good amount of time to get used to the turns and start to relax and have fun! At first, it was pretty intense!
The tour cost about $100 NZD and 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.
We found K Jet to be a good company and we felt safe and well looked after the entire time. Our driver was very fun and outgoing and overall the tour was super exciting.
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!
Jet Boating in Queenstown 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.
Be Prepared for Jet Boating in Queenstown
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. Here 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 realized that it was so much more fun than we originally anticipated. We had a blast! Aside from being exciting we got to explore parts of Queenstown we hadn’t even after living there for 6 months and 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.
April 8, 2019