Calmly Cruising Down a River is Just Not the Kiwi Way…
In the 1950s, Bill Hamilton attached a jet engine to a boat and invented the thrilling watersport of jet boating, which involves speeding down narrow rivers with sharp turns and doing 360 spins. Today, jet boating is a must-do for people travelling in New Zealand. But where can you jet boat in New Zealand?
Whether it’s a quick spin for thrills in Queenstown or a full-day excursion to discover New Zealand’s most stunning rivers, a jet boat is certainly a way to travel in style. (Plus, we never get sick of those 360 spins)!
So check out the list below to see where you can hop on a jet boat and have a thrill ride in New Zealand!
1. Shotover Jet
With canyon walls jutting on either side, Shotover Jet squeezes down the Shotover River. Expect quick manoeuvres with 360 spins on this adventure water activity just outside of Queenstown. Check out Shotover Jet on Viator and Tripadvisor. For more thrills in Queenstown, check out 10 Queenstown Must-Dos.
2. Rapids Jet
Combine narrow canyons with rapids and you have Rapids Jet. It’s hard to decide which is more fun, pushing through the rapids on the way upstream or surfing them on the way back down? Rapids Jet is just outside of Taupo. Learn more about Rapids Jet on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, check out what else there is to do in Taupo in The Complete Guide to Taupo.
3. Waiaurahiri Jet
Waiaurahiri Jet is a unique all-day jet boating experience from the stunning Lake Hauroko, 27km (17 miles) down the grade 3 rapids of the Waiaurahiri River all the way to the sea. It’s certainly a thrilling way to see the World Heritage Site of Fiordland National Park.
4. Hukafalls Jet
Unfortunately, you do not go down the mammoth rapids that make up Huka Falls (can you imagine?!). Hukafalls Jet takes you to the safer base of Huka Falls. Hukafalls Jet departs just outside of Taupo. Find out more about this New Zealand jet boat tour on Viator and Tripadvisor.
5. Dart River Jet
If you find yourself in Glenorchy, otherwise known as The Lord of the Rings country, take a trip on the Dart River Jet down Dart River. It takes you through the stunning Mt Aspiring National Park. Find out more about the jet boat tour on Viator and Tripadvisor.
6. Katoa Lake Rotorua
Ride from New Zealand’s geothermal hotspot of Rotorua to the sanctuary of Mokoia Island with Katoa Lake Rotorua. This jet boat tour isn’t exclusively about the 360-spins and high speeds, but it’s about reaching an extraordinary destination. Watch New Zealand’s native species flying through the forest, explore the island’s geothermal activity and learn about its Maori history. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.
7. Whanganui River Adventures
Discover the stunning Whanganui River by jet boat. The jet boat is a popular way to get to many of the hikes in the Whanganui National Park, as well as transport from the beginning or end of the Whanganui Journey Great Walk.
8. Akaroa Jet Adventures
Discover the Akaroa Harbour by jet boat! It’s a fast and furious way to see the breathtaking coastline, along with its caves and archways, in Akaroa. Don’t worry, there are plenty of 360 spins to be had too! Find out more in The Complete Guide to Akaroa.
9. Discovery Jet
Blast along the vibrant blue waters of the Rakaia River in the Canterbury region. The scenery is sensational with steep river gorges. Jet boat one way and hike back along the Rakaia River Track.
10. Skippers Canyon Jet
This trip departing from Queenstown is partly about the thrilling jet boat ride, but also about the adrenaline-pumping drive through Skippers Canyon! It’s an awesome way to experience one of New Zealand’s most dangerous roads with a fast and furious jet boat ride on the Skippers Canyon Jet at the end! Check out Skippers Canyon Jet on Viator and Tripadvisor.
11. Oxbow Jet Sprint Boat
[Update: Oxbow Adventure Co is relocating to Queenstown and is no longer available in Wanaka]
Easily the fastest jet boat experience in New Zealand, the Oxbow Jet in Wanaka is all about experiencing the G-force! Get some serious speed on their jet sprint lake.
12. Waiatoto Jet
A jet boat journey taking you from where the Waiatoto River meets the Tasman sea all the way into the mountainous regions of the Mt Aspiring National Park. Learn about the history, culture and the land of the wild West Coast of the South Island. Check out the Waiatoto Jet on Viator and Tripadvisor.
13. Forgotten World Jet
From Taumarunui, venture down the Whanganui River and into the Whanganui National Park with Forgotten World Jet! Another awesome fast-paced trip into the stunning North Island wilderness. Learn more about Forgotten World Jet on Viator and Tripadvisor.
14. Goldfields Jet
At the Goldfields Mining Centre between Cromwell and Queenstown, take the awesome Goldfields Jet down the narrow Kawarau River! Learn about the stories and history of this old gold-mining area along the way. Find out more about Goldfields Jet on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Departing from Queenstown’s main town pier, KJet takes you under the Kawarau Falls Dam and over the Shotover River. Find out more about KJet on Viator and Tripadvisor.
16. Auckland Adventure Jet
This 35min ride takes you along Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. It is certainly a fast-paced way to appreciate Auckland’s skyline from the ocean. Check out Auckland Adventure Jet on Viator and Tripadvisor.
To experience true speed and sharp twists and turns on a purpose-built jet boat course, try the Agrojet at Velocity Valley in Rotorua! Check out Viator and Tripadvisor for more information on Velocity Valley. Additionally, check out or more things to do in Rotorua, check out The Complete Guide to Rotorua.
18. Xtreme Jet Bay of Islands
Jump on the high-speed thrill ride of the Bay of Islands with Xtreme Jet! Experience epic 360° spins and speeds of up to 80km/h on the sheltered bay waters of the North Island’s “winterless north”. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, check out other ways to experience the waters of the Bay of Islands in the 10 Best Cruises in the Bay of Islands.
[CLOSED] NZ River Jet
Mix a thrilling jet boat ride down the Waikato River with a geothermal experience. Either mix your jet boat ride with a visit to Orakei Korako Geothermal Park or put on a wetsuit and delve down The Squeeze to find a hidden hot spring and waterfall! Trips with NZ River Jet between Rotorua and Taupo.
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Plus, check out alternative experiences in the 101 Things to Do in New Zealand: The Ultimate List.