We succumbed to the tourist marketing drive and booked a Jet Boat trip on the Shotover River near Queenstown. Wow, what an adventure!
Luckily we were advised that a small, family run enterprise operates at Skippers Canyon in the upper reaches of the river and they provide a much more interesting experience than the very commercial operations nearer town. Our trip began with an hour's minibus journey up a winding, steep and very narrow track (which took 4 years to build in the 1840's) which was carved into the hillside to give better access to the goldfields. The views were superb:
Once we arrived at the river we were introduced to our driver and his incredible boat. Powered by a 420hp V8 engine, the secret of these craft is the Kiwi invention of the Hamilton water jet. This sucks water up through a grill in the bottom of the boat and squirts it out at high velocity through a directional nozzle at the stern. No propellers or rudders mean that the boats can attain speeds of about 80kph in water as shallow as a couple of inches.
To get the full effect have a look at the video that Graham took here
then have a look at a professional version! here