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Jetboating on the Shotover River

  • Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand

Last updated: 23 April, 2024

This big red jetboat has become as much a part of the Queenstown experience as skiing and bungy jumping. Over three million people have surrendered to its charms since 1970.

The trip runs through the steep-sided canyons of the Shotover River – though since the boat travels at speeds up to 85km/h and pulls off dazzling 360-degree spins, you’re unlikely to see much of the landscape.

While you're there

If one adrenaline shot is not enough, then why not sign up for another – the nearby Shotover Canyon swing. Be warned though – the innocuous-sounding ‘swing’ kicks off with a 60m freefall (think cliff jump) – not for the faint-hearted. Combined tickets available, and they can pick you up from the Shotover Jet River base. Otherwise it’s a 2-hour round-trip from Queenstown.

Logistics

Price from: £60
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around
Duration: 4-5 hours

Getting there & doing it

The Shotover Jet base is 7km from central Queenstown, and there’s plentiful parking if self-driving – allow 1.5 hours return to Queenstown. There are also pick-ups from Queenstown.

Boats carry up to 14 passengers. There’s no minimum age, but a minimum height of 1m applies. Take sunglasses all year round, and layer up in winter (especially gloves). You can also just come and watch.

 

When to do it

Trips run all year round, seven days a week, with multiple departures throughout the day. All weather permitting.

Who to go with: organised tours

5

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Queenstown

Hang on during this thrilling Jet boat ride that travels at high speeds on two rivers, covering more ground with a longer time out on the water than similar tours in the region. Leaving right from the Main Town Pier in Queenstown, scream with delight as your jet boat zooms across Lake Wakatipu, spins in circles on the Kawarau River, and navigates the shallow waters of the Shotover River. Be prepared to have heart-racing fun on this roller coaster of a ride!

Price NZ$135

Min age 2

Rating 4.69 / 5 [441 ratings]

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  • Queenstown

Immerse yourself in an authentic New Zealand adventure as you journey deep into the heart of world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park, a truly unique and untouched world. This is not just a jet boat ride, but a combination of activities designed to connect you with the real New Zealand. Experience 2 hours of breath-taking scenery and wilderness jet boating on braided, glacier-red rivers in this UNESCO World Heritage Area. Our experienced guides add a personal touch with stories about the history, the Greenstone trail and Māori legends from our own Ngai Tahu ancestors. An unmissable journey through spectacular scenery where mythology, heritage & fantasy meet reality. Where else can you pack so much into a half day of adventure and exploration?

Price NZ$307

Min age 3

Rating 4.69 / 5 [385 ratings]

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  • Queenstown

Queenstown Jet offers you an electric ride. Filled with speed, thrills and even more of those famous 360 degree spins. Hold on as we race faster than ever before down Lake Whakatipu and onto the beautifully scenic Kawarau River. Be sure to hold on to your hats as we navigate under bridges at speed and skim the river edges with precision. Great for families, we can take as young as two years old. Our experience is champion in the jet boat game and we can’t wait to give you the ride of your life.

Price NZ$139

Min age 2

Rating 4.63 / 5 [61 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Queenstown

Queenstown Jet Boat offers you an electric ride. Filled with speed, thrills and even more of those famous 360 degree spins. Hold on as we race faster than ever before down Lake Whakatipu. We will get you up close and personal with the lakes edge, skimming past trees and any obstacles in our way and be sure to hold on to your hats as we navigate under not one, but two bridges at speed. Great for families, we can take as young as two years old! Our experience is champion in the jet boat game and we can’t wait to give you the ride of your life.

Price NZ$88

Min age 2

Rating 4.84 / 5 [39 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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