Day 136 on the Road
Skippers Canyon Jet
Today we are experiencing the epic thrills of jet boating in Queenstown (and the terrifying journey on the Skippers Road to get there). If you like this video, then head on over to our YouTube Channel and join our backpacker squad!
Today we’re gonna be doing jet boating in Queenstown which is I think we’re quite spoiled for choice in Queenstown with… That is not the right grammatical terms there. Today we’re going to jet boat in the narrowest part of the Shotover river.
This morning we are being picked up by the team at Skippers Canyon Jet and the journey to get to the jet boat ride is an adventure in itself. We are going down Skipper Canyon Road once more which is one of the worlds most dangerous roads and an absolute blast to drive on. After a quick scenic stop to take some photos we are now heading now on the more dangerous part of the Skippers Road and along the way our driver Rusty is telling us about this road was made. About 120 years ago by miners who literally had to build this road on the edge of sheer cliff faces.
The road was built for small chariots pulled by horses and not for the big buses that we are using today. So it is a very thin and narrow road and there is even a section of it called Bus Scratch Corner which gets it’s name from well you can guess right.
Rusty is also telling us about the gold mining history of the area as well and how gold was actually discovered here by two maori shepherds in 1862 and this sort of sparked the whole gold rush era in Queenstown.
All along the way the views are absolutely astonishing from the backdrop of the mountains to the milky blue waters of the Shotover River below. It’s stunning.
But we are here for a thrill ride. We are here to get our adrenaline shot on the Shotover River and we are going to be boarding on one of the fastest jet boat rides in New Zealand, the Skippers Canyon Jet.
As soon as we board we are getting a little safety briefing it’s very simple the exit on the boat are on every single side and don’t jump don’t stand and if the driver is making a massive sign that means we’re going to be doing a 360 degree spin and the first thing that he tells us is we’re gonna go fast and we’re gonna do a lot of those spins.
Our driver, Kevin, is taking us at full speed down the Shotover River we are going over rapids, we are having near misses with towering river gorge cliff faces we are doing 360 degree spins which is the most famous move a jet boat can do it can spin all the way round in the water on one point it is crazy.
The area has a huge amount of historical significance in New Zealand it has a gold mining history it has a maori history and a farming history which is basically what New Zealand is known for. But we don’t hear any of the comments that Kevin is giving us because he’s rushing at full speed through the canyon and we are stuck to the back of our seats because of the G force and the speed of the jet boat. In fact, the jet boat is going as fast as 80km/h which maybe doesn’t sound that fast but right on the surface of the water it is an ungodly speed and with constant near misses and 360 degree spins we really do not have a second to gather our thoughts and even think about what the hell is happening to us right now. It is crazy.
The scenery around us is amazing we are surrounded by these towering rocky cliffs and the water such a vivid blue it’s so awesome. And Kevin is taking a few stops along the way to explain a little bit more about the area including a Lord of the Rings filming location where Arwen is being chased by the Ring Wraiths.
This will mark the turning point for our tour. We are now making our way back toward the base and Kevin tells us that this is gonna be even faster than on the way we did before because he’s not gonna stop to give us any insights or any commentaries it’s just full speed back to the base. He’s really pushing the jet boat to it’s limits going as fast as he can and actually jet boats were invented in New Zealand because we have so many shallow rivers here and jet boat are the easiest and most maneuverable way to navigate on them.
I now understand why we got given some waterproof jackets because we are getting splashed at every single turn but because it’s so hot today and there is so much wind due to the speed of the jet boat we are almost drying instantly it’s a very weird as feeling.
One of the epic things about this jet boat as well is it is really undeterred by even the canyon the speed and the rapids we are passing through quite a few absolutely epic rapids and the jet boat just doesn’t stop. Jet boating is unlike any other boating experience and it has to be a must-do in New Zealand. There’s so many awesome jet boat tours and this is definitely one of them where you really get to experience how they effortlessly go along the water and can get so close to the cliff edge without crashing into them.
As we get toward the end of this jet boat tour I start to get a little more used to the speed so I can really embrace the environment that we’re in and I can’t believe that gold miners used to work in this sort of environment. It’s crazy.
We get a couple of moments to take some last photos of the jet boat speeding off and then it’s back onto the bus and back down the treacherous Skippers Road for some more epic views on our way back to Queenstown.
Back in Queenstown we are meeting up with the team back at Nomads Queenstown because they do offer really cheap as meals for any of their guests. We are actually heading to a bar called the Loco Cantina where we can have dinner for only 3 bucks and that’s happening every single night.
All these people are Loco for Loco. It feels like almost everybody in our hostel is actually queuing up to get this 3 dollar meal no one seems to want to be cooking in Queenstown everybody wants a cheap meal to go out afterwards.
I’m tucking in it’s free no it’s not it’s 3 dollars.
After our meal we feel a little bit peckish so we head across the road to fergbaker the little sister of the world famous Fergburger joint.
Guys there is literally we are in Ferg bakery right here there is a ton of delicious shit and Laura picked a raisin danish look how yummy that looks, right. But she picked that stuff. Right here. Literally looks like an a-hole. Look at all that stuff she picked a raisin danish.
Look at that, there’s strawberries and chocolate on it. Guess what she picked. A freaking danish.
So Laura picked the most boring pastry she could in Fergbakery. And I picked something amazing which is chocolate donut. Well let’s look at the size for a second. Well let’s look at the size of our asses and see what happens. Let’s look at the size of my stomach and my smile after I’ve eaten this compared to yours which is going to be a frown more than anything.
And it’s with some awesome food that we end yet another awesome adrenaline-fuelled day in Queenstown.
Tomorrow we are getting back on the Shotover River we are going to drive skippers canyon road again because we are going white water rafting on that goddamn river again. So this river has not finished entertaining us. There is more to do on the Shotover River so don’t miss it.