Queenstown is the place to be to get your adrenaline fix. You can choose from a range of extreme activities: jumping of a bridge, flying like a superhero, or speeding over a river in a jet boat, just to name a few. We couldn’t help ourselves, we just had to try all of the above. Hell, you’re in the adventure capital of the world!
In this blog post we’ll tell you about our jet boat ride with Shotover Jet Queenstown, one of the first adventure activities in the history of Queenstown.
A Shotover Jet ride – practical info
I would describe a jet boat ride with Shotover Jet as follows: 25 minutes of speeding in a red jet boat over the Shotover River, between the narrow canyons, doing 360° spins.
We booked the early morning ride with Shotover Jet, aka Sunrise Departure. At the time (depends on the time of the year), that meant check in between 8:00 and 8:15, departure at 8:30. You have to get out of bed kind of early, but it saves you NZ$20 per person. Whereas a jet boat ride with Shotover Jet normally costs NZ$145, you can join the first ride of the day for only NZ$125 per person. (Prices apparently went up, because we only paid NZ$115 per person.)
With speeds up to 85 km/h it can get pretty cold on the jet boat. Better wear warm clothes, a jacket, hat and certainly gloves. The Shotover Jet staff recommends wearing sunglasses or glasses as well, because of the wind. As a souvenir (and for warmth of course) you’ll receive a buff (neck warmer) upon arrival at the reception. When checking in at the jet boat, you get a full length raincoat (optional) and a life jacket (mandatory).
You can leave your valuables in a safe on the shores of the Shotover River. It’s not allowed to bring handheld cameras on board the jet boat (you’ll need your hands to hold on to the hand rails anyway), but you can bring your head mounted Go Pro. No worries though, a photographer and a Jet Cam mounted on the jet boat will capture your adventurous jet boat ride. Immediately afterwards you can watch the result, without obligation to buy. There are several options to buy the video and photo material. We bought a small red Shotover Jet shaped USB stick with photos and videos for $60.
The Shotover Jet site is a 5 minute drive from Queenstown Holiday Park Creeksyde, where we stayed. From the centre of Queenstown it’s probably more like a 10 minute drive. If you’re not travelling by car or campervan, you can make use of the complementary shuttles driving between Queenstown and the Shotover Jet site.
Our Shotover Jet ride
The Shotover Jet ride was our first of three Queenstown adventure sport activities, and we were pretty stoked. Prepared to get high on adrenaline by the risky tricks and dazzling speed we drove over to the Shotover Jet site. We checked in at the reception where we got our buff and were told to head outside to the jet boat. We stored our valuables in the safe, and got a raincoat and life jacket in return. And then: photo time!
We were the first ones by the boat, so got to choose the best seats: right behind the driver. The two seats next to the driver are pretty awesome too, but the ride will be slightly less exciting when you’re in the centre of the jet boat. Before taking off, Mike, our driver (or captain if you will), informed us on a couple of signs he would be giving during the ride and what they meant. He showed us where to look in the camera and, suddenly, floored it!
We speeded close along steep rocky walls, zigzagged around boulders, and made 360° turns, splashing water out of the Shotover River all around. We only got a little wet, but the people in the back seemed to have suffered more than just a couple of drops of water.
Speed equals wind, so we were happy with that souvenir buff keeping our neck and face warm! The wind blew the hood of my jacket off again and again (#coldears), so make sure yours is tight. Not the entire 25 minutes were full of speed and thrill though. Mike sometimes stopped to explain a bit about the Shotover River and the fluctuations of its water, about the gold that was found and other fun and interesting stuff.
Immediately after the jet boat ride you get to see the photos and video that were made during the ride. Well, not literally immediately. First you have some time to browse the souvenir shop, while they’re preparing the footage. They’ll show the photos and video (a mix of your ride and marketing footage) on a big screen and explain the different options for buying them.
Should you do the Shotover Jet ride?
The Shotover Jet ride was fun, no doubt! However, in our opinion not that extreme. We’ve been on theme park rides that were more thrilling. The 360° spins were the coolest trick, too bad you know when they’re coming. It’s definitely a cool activity, but there are more awesome and exciting activities in Queenstown. If you have to decide between a bungy jump or the Shotover Jet because of budgetary or time reasons: go jump! Thát was truly awesome! More on our jump in the next blog post.
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