Find the best jet boating in Queenstown, designed to suit your individual needs. With six different amazing options, we’ll help you choose the one that ticks your boxes.
However, there are a surprising number of less ‘extreme’ things to do in the adventure capital too. One of which is jet boating.
Jet boats were invented right here in Aotearoa so there really is no better place to jump on one! These boats are propelled across just centimetres of water, by sucking water in and ejecting it at great speed at the back of the craft.
If that sounds exciting, it’s because it is!
Reaching speeds of up to 95 kph and enjoying epic scenery along the way, these boats are one of the very best ways to see the area’s natural beauty.
Jet boating in Queenstown is an absolute must, and luckily there are plenty of great options!
All prices were correct at the time this post was written. They may have since changed – please click through the links to confirm.
The Best Jet Boating Experiences in Queenstown
To help you make a decision that’s right for you, we’re going to dive into all six of the different jet boating experiences in Queenstown.
Each one has something unique to offer, making hard to decide which one to choose unless you’ve got all the information. That’s where we come in!
Though we suggest you read this article in full, if you’re short on time and just need to make a decision, we recommend the following options.
|Most exciting ride||Shotover Jet|
|Most affordable ride||RealNZ Jet|
|Longest ride||Dart River Adventures|
|Most scenic journey||Skippers Canyon Jet|
Each of the six Queenstown jet boats have points to celebrate though, so we suggest you read over the following information in order to make the best choice for your whānau.
In no particular order, these are the different jet boat options available in and near Queenstown.
A Quick Comparison of the Different Jet Boat Rides in Queenstown
|Jet||Ride duration||Book with a Discount|
|Shotover Jet||25 mins||10% off – Promo code NZTTPLAY|
|Kjet||60 mins||10% off – Promo code NZTTPLAY|
|RealNZ Jet||25 mins||10% off – Promo code NZTTPLAY|
|RealNZ Jet||60 mins||10% off – Promo code NZTTPLAY|
|Skippers Canyon||30 mins||10% off – Promo code NZTT10|
|Dart River Adventures||120 mins||10% off – Promo code NZTTPLAY|
|Goldfields Jet||40 mins||Closed at time of writing|
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A Detailed Comparison of the Queenstown Jet Boats
1. The Shotover Jet
The Shotover Jet is one of New Zealand’s most iconic experiences. For many (us included), it is an activity not to be missed whilst in Queenstown! It is one of the most popular jet boat operators in town for a reason.
It’s got exclusive access to operate within the towering canyons of Shotover River. Naturally, this means plenty of tight spots and close calls with the surrounding cliff edges, but that’s what makes this experience so exciting!
They also have incredibly well-trained skippers who are at the top of their game.
The Shotover Jet is easily accessible too. You can make the short drive to Arthurs Point yourself or take the free shuttle from Queenstown.
Why we Love Shotover Jet
Speeding over waters as shallow as 10cm and with plenty of 360° spins along the way, Shotover Jet isn’t for the faint-hearted.
However, it’s a perfect choice if you’re an adrenaline junkie who’s looking to get your blood pumping!
With a fast and thrilling ride, epic scenery, and plenty of close calls, you’re in for the adventure of a lifetime if you choose Shotover Jet.
The views are also spectacular which sets it apart from other tour operators in the area.
Location: Main Town Pier, Marine Parade, Queenstown
Ride duration: 60 minutes
Book: KJet. Save 10% using the promo code NZTTPLAY.
If you’re keen to jet boat without having to leave Queenstown’s town centre then make sure you check out KJet.
Boasting the title of the ‘world’s first commercial jet boating company’, they’ve got years of experience on the water.
If you choose this tour operator, you’ll head out on a 45km journey full of 360° spins and exhilarating speeds of up to 95kph. Flying over Lake Wakatipu, Kawarau River, and Shotover River, you’ll also get breathtaking views along the way.
KJet runs plenty of tours throughout the day too, so you won’t be limited to specific times when you book. Usually, the tours run every hour on the hour!
Why we Love KJet
If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, then KJet may be the best option for you.
Offering double the duration of the Shotover Jet at a lower rate, this jet boat ride offers fantastic value for money.
It’s also in a great location as you’ll be departing from the Main Town Pier which is located in the centre of Queenstown! This is perfect if you’ve got limited time in the area, as you won’t have to worry about catching a shuttle out of town.
3. RealNZ Jet (Formally GoOrange)
Location: Queenstown Jet Kiosk, Steamer Wharf, Queenstown.
Ride duration: 25 minutes or 60 minutes
Book: RealNZ Jet. Save 10% using the promo code NZTTPLAY.
RealNZ are another fantastic option if you’re looking to go jet boating in Queenstown.
They also operate from the main pier so are in a convenient location, especially if you’re staying nearby.
They focus on experiences for budget travellers (and offer the lowest pricing in town), so you won’t have to worry about splashing the cash either.
Their jet tours will take you racing down the Kawaru River where you’ll experience speeds of up to 95kph. With twin V8 engines and plenty of 360° spins, you’ll be guaranteed a fantastic ride.
Just keep in mind that the tour timings will differ depending on which duration you choose. The 25-minute jet boat rides are much more frequent, operating every 30 minutes or so.
Why we Love RealNZ
We love that RealNZ offer a variety of jet boating experiences. You can opt for either a 25-minute or 60-minute jet boat ride, depending on your timeframe and budget. You’ll notice though, that there isn’t much of a price difference – still, it’s nice to have the choice.
Not only that, but RealNZ offer another unique experience that combines a jet boat experience with whitewater rafting. This gives you the best of both worlds and costs $199 for anyone over the age of 13.
4. Skippers Canyon Jet
Location: Skippers Road, Queenstown
Ride duration: 30 minutes (although you’ll need to allow around three hours for the full experience)
Book: Skippers Canyon Jet [discounted].
Skippers Canyon Jet is located a 50-minute drive from the centre of Queenstown so is quite a way out. However, your jet boat package includes return transport along the incredible Skippers Canyon Road which is an adventure in itself.
Like Shotover Jet, this company operates its jet boating tour inside a breathtaking canyon so you’re in for an exhilarating experience. They race up and down the Shotover River too, enjoying a number of close-calls, twists and turns.
Why we Love Skippers Canyon Jet
If you’re looking for an authentic and unique jet boating experience in Queenstown then Skipper Canyon Jet is the perfect option.
It’s the only jet boat ride where you’ll get to witness historic gold mining relics, as they’re still found in Shotover River. Not only that, but you’ll get to see some of the iconic Lord of the Rings filming locations.
However, you’ll need to allow around three hours for return transport and the experience as it’s located further out of town. This means it won’t be suitable for people with limited time in Queenstown.
5. Dart River Adventures: Wilderness Jet
Location: 45 Mull Street, Glenorchy
Ride duration: 2 hours
Book: The Wilderness Jet by Dart RiverAdventures. Save 10% using the promo code NZTTPLAY.
Although not as thrilling as Shotover Jet, Dart River Adventures has so much to offer.
If it’s pure jet boating you’re after, the Wilderness Jet Experience is a 2-hour trip that covers over 90km of water. This makes it one of New Zealand’s longest river jet boat adventures.
Or, ride the jetboat upriver and enjoy a funyaking trip back down [use the promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%]. The choice is yours!
Why we Love the Wilderness Jet
One of the best reasons to choose Dart River Adventures is simply the breathtaking scenery!
You won’t find many locations as beautiful as this in New Zealand, which makes it a fantastic choice for jet boating in Queenstown.
The fact that they’ve got multiple tour options is always a bonus too, as it allows you to customise your tour based on your personal preferences.
However, like Skippers Canyon Jet this tour operator is located out of Queenstown so it’s not a great option for those limited on time.
6. Goldfields Jet
Location: Goldfields Mining Centre, Kawarau Gorge, State Highway 6, Cromwell
Ride duration: 40 minutes
Goldfields Jet isn’t situated in the town centre but it’s just a 45-minute drive away in Kawarau Gorge. You can either drive there yourself or you can pay for a shuttle from Queenstown – just be aware that you’ll just need to book it in advance.
With exhilarating speeds, narrow canyons, picturesque scenery, and huge spins, it’s definitely an experience for the adventure seekers out there.
The tour takes place on the Kawarau River and is open 364 days a year, allowing you to visit at practically any time.
Not only will you get the experience of a lifetime, but you’ll get to learn about the area’s gold mining history too.
Why we Love Goldfields Jet
Although Goldfields Jet is situated outside of Queenstown, it’s a fantastic option.
Not only will you get an exhilarating jet boat experience, but you can combine this with some of the other activities they offer. This includes go-karting, a Goldfields mining tour, a trip to Carrick Winery, and a jet cruise!
These combo deals offer you great discounts. This is especially the case when you can get a combination ticket for all four experiences for just $229.
Did you know? Queenstown is not the only place locally where you can ride a jetboat – you’ll also find Fiordland Jet in Te Anau and on the West Coast (with Haast River Safari and Waiatoto River Safari).
As you can see there are plenty of jet boating experiences in Queenstown to choose from!
Whether you’re looking to splash the cash or you’d prefer something a bit more budget-friendly – there’s an option for everyone.
If you’ve got some extra time in this beautiful town, we honestly recommend giving this activity a go!
Have you ever been jet boating in Queenstown? If you have, we’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.