Day 125 on the Road
Waiatoto River Safari
Today we are jet boating in the Mt Aspiring National Park as part of our 365 Days: 365 Activities! If you like this video and want more New Zealand bucket list inspiration then consider joining the backpacker squad on YouTube!
Today we are going to be jet boating into a World Heritage Area. I cannot wait.
This morning this is at Hannahs Clearing that we’re meeting the team from Wayne’s Waiatoto River Safari and we are making our way toward one of the most pristine area of New Zealand the Mt Aspiring National Park. The Mt Aspiring National Park is not only a national treasure here in New Zealand It’s also an international treasure in fact it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Area protected under the UNESCO agreement. This is on the same level as the Pyramids of Giza and the Amazon Rainforest it’s crazy amazing.
The 2 and half hour tour is taking us on a unique journey from the ocean to the Southern Alps. In fact it’s only 30km between the mountains and the ocean but it’s such an isolated journey to get there and that’s why we are taking a special mode of transport which is a jet boat.
The jet boat is the perfect way to get into the Mt Aspiring National Park this quickly thanks to the design of this boat which allows it to go on water a little as 30cm deep.
Wayne stops the boat to give us a little bit more of an insight on the national park that we are visiting right now. It is rich of an amazing area of wildlife including the Haast brown kiwi which is one of the very rarest kiwi birds and as wayne is talking to us about it we actually meet some people from the Department of Conservation that show up say hi to Wayne which often does some work for the Department of Conservation as well. It’s a super way to learn more about the conservation in the area to actually spend time with people that are working on that every single day. But the national park isn’t just home to the Haast brown kiwi, it’s also home to other native New Zealand species like the kakariki which is a New Zealand parrot or the takahe or even this carnivorous snail called the polliphanta. As we are gliding along the river Wayne is giving us so much information about the area it’s really cool and the surroundings are absolutely astonishing I mean there are some pristine beaches bathed on turquoise waters and amazing snowy peaks of mountains with clouds it’s just absolutely amazing.
I just can’t even fathom everything that I’m seeing right now because I’m just mind blown. We keep on travelling at high speed through the national park trying to take in the views and although it’s a little bit of an eerie day with a massive risk of rain we can see the rain is coming we are feeling safe because the boat has been specially designed to operate on the West Coast with a glass roof above us it’s really cool to be able to see but be sheltered from the rain. And with that in mind we are finally arriving to our destination which is a lovely little creek.
We are unboarding the boat and it’s here that we’re learning about the pioneering history of the area. Farmers used to actually come to this remote place to do their farming but also to hunt for deer and pigs. And that’s why there’s all these gates here as well left here from the deer trapping days. Wayne’s telling us so much about what the early pioneers used to do. They even used to bring tractors on jet boats up the river to this area which is absolutely crazy.
But after some good snacks, tea and cakes, we are heading back on the boat back onto the Waiatoto River. The Waiatoto River is very significant to the local Maori because it’s extremely rick in pounamu which is the local greenstone.
I find this tour to be a really cool mix between discovery and transportation throughout the national park. It’s really far from the thrilling kind of jet boat that you are usually sold to in Queenstown. But that’s not without a few near misses with tree trunks which makes it makes it a little bit of a trill anyway.
What’s really awesome about this tour as well is that it’s really intimate and personal and that’s because this is a family business so when Wayne’s not driving the boat his wife Ruth is and it really shows through this tour.
And as we are making our way back to the Waiatoto River Mouth we can see all these people whitebaiting on the edges of the river and this is a keen sport here in the West Coast of New Zealand. People are fishing for whitebait so they can sell it as food cos it is a real cuisine here in the West Coast.
But Wayne has another surprise in mind for us. He actually stops us in the middle of the Waiatoto Lagoon. He stops the engine and we can hear the massive amount of birds in the area. It was really cool.
And with that last birdy surprise in mind we are now speeding through the rest of the river Wayne is going as fast as he can even including a 360 degree spin with the jet boat because you know what no jet boat tour is complete without one of those.
It was a really awesome tour and Laura and I are still buzzing about it she’s actually in fact so keen to tell you guys about this tour that she’s on her phone while ‘m driving to write about it on NZPocketGuide.com. It was really awesome and back at Wilderness Accommodation for a nice dinner.
Tomorrow we are leaving Haast and we’re driving all the way through the stunning Haast Pass we’re gonna stop at Thunder Falls Creek we’re going to stop at some other viewpoints we’re gonna stop at the Haast Blue Pools and we’re going to be finishing our in Wanaka. In one of the best hostels I have been in this country. It’s called Wanaka bakpaka and we’re staying there for 6 days because Wanaka has a lot to offer so see you tomorrow.