13 people found this article useful

5 Best Jet Boat Tours in Queenstown

Dart River Wilderness Jet

Where to Jet Boat in Queenstown?

In the “Adventure Capital of New Zealand,” it can be a little overwhelming to choose from the excessive list of adventure activities to tackle. If jet boating is on your bucket list, then you have more decisions to make choosing between the five jet boat tours in Queenstown! So which is the best jet boat in Queenstown? Well, we honestly think they are all epic, taking you on heart-pumping thrill rides through spectacular scenery. Each of the jet boat tours in Queenstown has their own unique aspects that we explain in the comparison of Queenstown jet boat tours below.

Plus, check out more epic jet boat experiences across the country in 17 Places to Jet Boat in New Zealand or continue making your Queenstown bucket list with our 10 Queenstown Must-Dos.

Flying Kiwi

1. Shotover Jet

You’ve probably already heard of Shotover Jet for a reason. Shotover Jet essentially put jet boating in New Zealand as a tourist activity on the map thanks to their exciting tour through the narrow and towering river canyons of the Shotover River. The exciting 25-minute experience takes you through a river gorge with dramatic scenery, incorporating near-misses with the canyon walls and full 360-degree spins along the way. The shape of the boat along with its powerful Hamilton jet propulsion system provides some of the sharpest turns and spins experienced in a jet boat.

Location: A courtesy shuttle leaves the Station Building in Queenstown every 15 minutes
Shotover Jet

2. Skippers Canyon Jet

The jet boat ride is only part of the experience with Skippers Canyon Jet. Enjoy a scenic drive up Coronet Peak, stopping for photos of the views, before making your way by bus along the vertical cliff edges of the Skippers Canyon. Once you have arrived at the Shotover River, you’ll be taken on a thrill ride on shallow waters and through narrow canyons. See waterfalls and abandoned gold mining relics along the way, with stops in a few locations for your driver to tell you more about the area and show you a Lord of the Rings filming location. The tour is also packed with exciting near-misses, drifting and 360-degree spins. Allow three hours for this jet boat tour in Queenstown.

Location: Tours depart from The Station building in Queenstown
Skippers Canyon Jet

3. Dart River Wilderness Jet

More than just a thrill ride, this jet boat tour is a journey into the wilderness. Dart River Wilderness Jet takes you deep into a UNESCO World Heritage Area of the Mt Aspiring National Park along shallow braided rivers fed by glaciers. Your nature guide will tell you about the area’s compelling history and ecology in between an epic ride along the river complete with spins and sharp turns. In the national park, you’ll stop for a walk among spectacular ancient beech forest and learn about the early Maori inhabitants of this area. The tour also includes a backcountry bus trip from Queenstown to the Dart River near Glenorchy. Allow about six hours for this full-day adventure!

Location: Departs Queenstown centre at 8am and 12pm daily
Dart River Wilderness Jet

4. KJet

This epic Queenstown jet boat tour departs right in the heart of Queenstown on the shores of the mighty Lake Wakatipu. Hop into the big yellow KJet jet boat and be transported from Queenstown, across the majestic Lake Wakatipu and onto the waters of the willow-lined Kawarau River. You’ll experience near-misses with the trees and the occasional swan before darting down the next river, the braided Shotover River. That’s one lake and two rivers all in one 1-hour ride! The tour returns with 360-spins and exciting twists and turns the same way toward Queenstown. Every jet boat ride also includes entry to Underwater Observatory to see the lake’s fish and diving ducks. Allow one hour for this tour.

Location: Main Town Pier, Marine Parade. Tours depart on the hour every hour.

5. Go Orange Thunder Jet Queenstown

Jump on the orange jet boat with Go Orange Thunder Jet Queenstown and experience the high-speed thrills of the Kawarau River and Lake Wakatipu. This Queenstown jet boat tour starts in an ideal location in Queenstown centre at the Steamer Wharf. Cross the bumpy waters of Lake Wakatipu before delving down the Kawarau River with shallow waters tumbling over willow trees. The 360-spins, near-misses and high-speed thrills are all thrown in there for a complete jet boat experience. Allow 1 hour for this tour, which is also one of the most affordable jet boat tours in Queenstown.

Location: Steamer Wharf, tours depart hourly
Go Orange

Videos About Queenstown

Base Hostels
Was this article useful? Useful Useless
Help other travellers, share this article now:
Haka Tours
Wild Kiwi

What is it Really Like to Travel With Wild Kiwi?

Review of Wild Kiwi New Zealand Bus tours. Travelling by road is [...]

Apartments Paradiso

10 Best Budget Accommodation in Nelson

Cheap Accommodation in Nelson. Save your money for the things that really [...]

Like us on Facebook
Hot on Backpacker Guide
Planning your trip

Disability and Backpacking in New Zealand

Backpacking with a disability in New Zealand. You’ll be surprised! With a […]

Eating Out

Cheap Eats in Queenstown

Where to find cheap food in Queenstown. The tourist hotspot of Queenstown […]


12 Super Scenic Cycle Trails in Otago

Which bike trails to try in Otago. Snow-capped mountains, lakes, river gorges, […]

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
I accept