Queenstown is also known for the Shotover Jets that run on the Shotover River (same one we canyon swung over).
For a 20-30 min. ride, it surprisingly ended up being one of my favorite activities (especially since it didn’t involving throwing myself off anything or any heights). Once again, the panoramic landscapes and breathtaking views made it all worth it – sadly, no cameras or any items were allowed on the boat due to the amount of whirling and twirling the boats did. However, let’s just say that some of the scenes from Lord of the Rings were shot in the places we shot past. I’m certain that The Argonath statues were CG-ed into the parts of the river where our boat was literally wedged between narrow, steep rock formations.
The water was so pristine, so clear, we could see every rock below us. I’m pretty sure that water was cleaner to drink than the bottled water we buy in the NZ supermarkets. Beautiful trees, large stretches of green everywhere, mountains and mountains… man. Glorious. My eyes were transfixed on all the golds, yellows, oranges, greens, blues, greys melded together while we were jetting by. I think my mouth was hanging open in amazement each time we slowed down.
The ride itself, meant to be a white water ride, skimmed (and literally jumped) across rocks and waters up to 85kph. When we started out, I kept screaming every time we narrowly shot past a huge boulder or barely scraped past large rocks. Of course, there was no reason to be afraid, but it was just instinct to panic. These guys are trained to drive these boats in extremely narrow pathways, but that’s what made it ten times more exciting. There were several 180 and 360-degree turns throughout the ride, which honestly made it worth the money. Well, except for the last 360-turn, when I practically flew up from my seat and banged my thigh against the side. If you don’t “brace” and hold on tightly as they instruct, you could very easily fly out of the boat.
It lasted longer than expected – we jetted from one end of the river to the other, then back, and then to a portion of the river that was barricaded off by dozens of rocks, which apparently was where gold was found back in the day. Mini history lessons ensued.
Sidenote: The Shotover Jet was the only activity in Queenstown that the Royals partook in – sadly, we missed them by a solid week, but ah well. She managed to look flawless throughout the entire ride, whereas my short hair was so tangled after it ended, I couldn’t even pull out the knots. It was ridiculous.
Alternative sidenote: The title of this post is jokingly titled the River Anduin, mainly because the Shotover River looks so similar to this fictional river from LOTR. I think the actual location used for the River Anduin was in Cadrona Valley, more toward Wanaka, but what the hell, everything begins to blur together in NZ anyway.
My take? If you’re in Queenstown, do the Shotover Jet. It’s not extremely pricey (compared to the other stuff I signed up for), and you get more bang for your buck if you’re not keen on a few seconds of falling through the air.