Jetboating on the Shotover River in Queenstown, New Zealand

Crossing over the bridge and looking down at what they call a canyon, but what I would refer to as a crevice, I realized I was in for some scary business. It was beautiful; the water a bright turquoise, the contrast of the stones creating a dream-like effect. Quite honestly, I didn’t know what to expect.

Stepping onto the 500hp jetboat was like boarding an amusement park ride, and I felt like I was 12 all over again, smiling in giddy anticipation. Our boat pilot, Glen, tried to convince us (with a sarcastic grin) that he hadn’t been out drinking heavily the night before.

Minutes later we were doing high speed 360-spins within inches of stone walls. As the boat skimmed the surface we realized how shallow the water was when we heard the boat scrape the bottom of the river. “Five to ten centimeters,” he said.


For 30 minutes we swerved through a winding river, encapsulated on both sides by 20 meter walls, dodging rocks and boulders and ducking under stone ledges. We paused periodically for a brief information session, whether it be a history lesson about the area or just about the boat itself. After all, knowledge is power. Right?

Honestly, I felt pretty powerless in that boat. But that’s the fun! Coming within inches of your life and not being able to do anything about it. An exhilarating ride, to say the least!

More Information

  • Name: Shotover Jet
  • Price: $129
  • Contact: +64 0800 SHOTOVER
  • Notes: Check Groupon frequently, as they often run deals! The information center, where you can book and take the complimentary shuttle, is located on the corner of Shotover St and Camp St in downtown Queenstown.

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About the Author

Jeremy Scott Foster

Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.
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