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From Jet Boating to Steam Boating in Queenstown, New Zealand

As a bit of an adrenaline junkie, going on a jet boat ride was high on my list of things to do when I went to New Zealand, though of course not any old jet boat ride would do. I came across plenty of opportunities as I traveled around the South Island, but most were on calm rivers and lakes, and I wanted something a little more dangerous.

I was in my accommodation in Queenstown when I finally found what I was looking for. I decided to take a ride on the Shotover Jet that shoots it’s way up and down the narrow Shotover River Canyon. No boring old lake for me!

When I arrived at the set off point for the Shotover Jet, I watched the boat speeding along through the shallow water and I was instantly filled with excitement. I couldn’t wait to get in on the action!

People boarding the Shotover Jet

Before long I was suited up in my life jacket and climbing on board for my first jet boating experience.

The jet boat shot off down the spectacular canyon, tall cliffs rising up on both sides and water spraying in it’s wake. Just as I was enjoying the scenery racing by we suddenly did a full 360° spin before continuing down the river at ridiculous speeds of up to 85kph. At times the water seemed so shallow that I thought we were going to hit the bottom and tear the boat apart, but the boat is designed to operate in as little as 10cm of water.

We continued flying up and down the canyon doing spins and sharp turns, often coming so close to the canyon walls that I was sure that we were going to crash, but the skilled driver was completely in control. This ride was truly exhilarating.

The Shotover Jet speeding up the Canyon

The Shotover Jet was not a cheap experience, but certainly well worth it. I hopped off the boat feeling pumped and full of energy. It was certainly a great way to feel alive!

When I got back to Queenstown I decided to spend the afternoon on another boat, this time at the opposite end of the scale.

The TSS Earnslaw is a vintage steam boat that is actually turning 100 years old this year. It has been operating on the beautiful Lake Wakatipu for all of that time, and departs for daily cruises from the Queenstown Wharf.

The beautiful old steam boat slowly chugged it’s way along the lake, and I sat there taking in the peaceful and relaxing setting and pace of the boat. We headed towards the Walter Peak High Country Farm on the shore of the lake, where I would take a tour of the farm.

On the deck of the TSS Earnslaw View of Lake Wakatipu from the top deck Walter Peak High Country Farm from the TSS Earnslaw The TSS Earnslaw docked at the farm

When we arrived at the jetty we departed the boat and were able to explore most of the farm on our own. The old farm is a great way to learn about how a New Zealand sheep farm operates, and they have several demonstrations, my favourite being the sheep dog round up. It was fascinating to watch as the dogs herded up the sheep and guided them into the pen.

Different breeds of sheep at the farm Watching a sheep dog demonstration

As I was watching the show however, I kept being drawn back to the puppies!

Puppies!!!

Eventually we boarded the TSS Earnslaw again and the old steam boat slowly made it’s way back to Queenstown, a lovely way to end a great day of boating in a spectacular part of New Zealand.

Have you been jet boating or steam boating? I’d love to hear about your experience.

You might also like:

A Heli Hike on Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Walking to Franz Joseph Glacier, New Zealand
Hiking the Queen Charlotte Track in New Zealand

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15 Comments to “From Jet Boating to Steam Boating in Queenstown, New Zealand”

The Earnslaw stops running for a month the day before I get to Queenstown. Bummer. Not sure I am up for jet-boating, but we’ll see if New Zealand brings the adrenaline junkie out in me.

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    Oh that’s a shame Erik, the Earnslaw is a nice ride. Definitely consider going on the Shotover Jet – It’s a lot of fun and you really don’t need to be an adrenaline junkie to enjoy it.

    Reply

Jet boating looks really fun and what better place to do it! Love the old wooden steamboat too. New Zealand is high on my list of places to go. Looks like you had a blast.

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    Hi Cherina, I did have a blast when I was in New Zealand. As an adventure lover it’s paradise! I can’t wait to get back there myself:)Cheers

    Reply

Gosh this looks like so much fun, and NZ really seems like such an awesome location to do it given the stunning scenery!

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    It sure was a lot of fun:)And it’s hard to beat New Zealand when it comes to scenery!

    Reply

That Shotover Jet Boat looks awesome – I’m sure that was a lot of fun! Great photos – beautiful place!

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To be a girl here for a moment … such cute puppies!!!

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    Hehe I was no better Emme! While everyone else was busy watching the sheep show I kept getting distracted by the puppies;)

    Reply

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Looks like a super fun day! I am drawn to puppies and kittens whenever I travel and would have been the same on that farm visit.;)

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