oday was the day we had our jet boat ride booked and it was another thing I’d really been wanting to do since organising this trip. This resulted in us leaving our campsite and arriving at the Shotover location way too early but hey we had a coffee and got excited watching the other trips go before us. It was quite warm again today (although cooler in this valley) and we knew they gave us big waterproof jackets so shorts it was, woohoo! The weather was treating us very well so far!
Our turn came and we went down the decked steps to the gravelly grey beach alongside a skinny bright blue flowing river, aptly named the Shotover River. We got these huge long heavy waterproofs given to us and then waited with the rest of the group for the boat to arrive. I was pretty excited! Our boat and driver whizzed up and stopped in a 360 and we climbed on in, woohoo let’s go! Simon our driver gave us the safety brief in a pretty humorous way and we all braced ourselves. He put his foot down and we shot off along what looked like just rocks as the water was crystal clear. Actually it was just rocks we were skimming over. This jet only needs about 10 inches of water to start in and then once moving only 4 inches – so when I say we were skimming over the rocks and branches and trees I’m not exaggerating! It was exhilarating and exciting and we all enjoyed ourselves screaming as he threw us around in lots of 360s in areas of water that were literally as wide as the boat was long. Then we disappeared into a canyon that felt so deep and got really bumpy and the sides were huge SHARP boulders sticking out – and obviously the whole point was the driver goes so close to them and he literally was steering into them inches away round the corner – so cool! These guys have to have 150 hours of training time, which is double that of normal boat drivers apparently, before they are allowed to take passengers. Of course Simon told us this was his first day but he’d actually been doing it for 6 years and was one of the most experienced – which was to our advantage as he did spins in tiny areas in the bloody canyon that newer drivers would not have tried. Yay! We had a good 30 mins playing about on the river and in the canyon, spinning and twisting and dipping – I’d recommend it for people visiting Queenstown for sure. When strapped the gopro to Javis head too so the video will be great to watch – have to wait till we get home though! We finished in a wet 360 and hopped off, everyone with big smiles on their faces.
After we got over that we popped to the closest supermarket and got some bits and just out of town, at a random picnic bench on top of a hill overlooking Lake Wakatipu, ate our lunch. Then we drove on to our next stop, Te Anau, which is a lovely town on Lake Te Anau. We stopped at the usual info stop, the local i-site, and booked our tour for the next day to Milford Sound. After chatting to the helpful woman for quite a while, her recommendation was go book a tour that picks us up from here and takes us there rather than driving ourselves for a good couple of hours. We booked an eco tour for only $100 which included lunch on the boat. Our pick up time was 8.15am from our campsite which we also chose with her – we were treating ourselves to a ‘posh’ holiday park as we wanted to be in the town. It came with showers and laundry and kitchens though so hey, saves our water and gas and petrol tomoro with being picked up and all!
We used absolutely every single facility we could hehe and then cooked up a feast of chicken and salad and couscous in the provided kitchen, took looooong showers and crashed into bed. We were a bit nervous about the next day actually as the weather was shite and a storm was brewing, so they were warning maybe the road would be closed tomoro for rock falls and fallen trees etc – we would just have to see…