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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dart River Jet Boat

If I had to pick my favorite thing on our whole entire New Zealand trip, there'd be many things at the top of the list, but our jet boat ride on the Dart River would probably win.
(Dart River Jet Safaris)

While we did see many, many beautiful places & stunning scenery all over New Zealand, this was the only time we did it cruising on a river with the wind in your face & the sun shining down on you.

I'll say it again- there is something about being on & near the water that is relaxing & peaceful. On a jet boat- we moved so effortlessly up and down the river. The mountains and valley and forests and streams and glaciers went by slow enough that we had time to awe at then, but fast enough that there was always something new and more striking coming into view.

From what I can recall, this is some of the most sacred land to the Maori people & it's easy to see why- it's one of the most beautiful stretches we visited on our trip.

We popped into this little alcove where a deep stream was running out between the rock crevasse with a gorgeous shade of turquoise water.

As I mentioned, this river is shallow & full of rocks. It really sounds like you are hitting all these rocks, but our guide assured us it was just the water.

This place really looked like something out of my imagination and not of this world.

Some of the most popular hiking trails & tramping is through the mountains and valleys in this area.

In late February, the early morning ride was a bit cool. They provide life jackets & rain slicks- which come in handy (the block a lot of the wind).

We zoomed up and down the river, and the guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining during our trip.

Watching the driver navigate the river is very cool. Just sitting there looking at it, there seems to be places the river just ends or gets too shallow, but he would find the perfect line & fly through some tiny areas without batting an eye.

We passed by a few waterfalls in the valley & we were told that a great deal of

Another reason this area is favored by tribal legend is the discovery of New Zealand's famous precious gem- the Greenstone. The Maori name is Pounamu (just like our hotel).

Due to the glacial periods in the past, the river suddenly dumps into the north end of Lake Wakatipu. The water goes from a light milky color in the shallow water to a rich, dark blue in the depths of the lake almost instantly. You can see the line in the above photo as we approach the mouth of the river.

The water mixing together as we enter the Lake.

The waters in the lake are so clear & you can see many feet down.

The entire shoreline of Lake Wakatipu is surrounded by dramatic mountains & beautiful ridge-lines.

The jet boats are specifically designed for use on this river & they have a VERY flat bottom. The motor is loud, but the sound of the water smacking the bottom of the boat is even louder.

Sporting the life jacket & slicker on the end of our trip. We got to sit up front- we were told it was better for the younger/healthier/stronger people to sit up front because, when the boat spins, it pivots around the rear & the forces up front are the largest. We also stayed the driest :)

We took a little bus ride back to the main shop in Glenarchy to meet with the other groups & leave our equipment.

Overall, the tour is very well organized and well planned.

They took a photo right before we boarded the boat, but I wasn't paying the outrageous fee for it, so I just snapped a picture of it.

There is enough time before the buses leave back for Queenstown to grab lunch at one of the handful of restaurants right next to the shop.

It's a small little town- not much going on, just a few tourist shop selling lots of wool & souvenirs.

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: It's Mia's first birthday! I'm going to take them out to the park this afternoon if it isn't raining & hopefully have some pics posted tonight.


Dennis the Vizsla said...

Gorgeous scenery! But all that time in New Zealand, and you didn't see a single hobbit?

Josh said...

thanks for your posts. can i ask if you used a digital SLR camera? and if so which one. i am trying to decide/convince my wife to buy one ahead of our NZ trip. i would appreciate any advice. thanks,