The Siberia Wilderness Adventures, is a helicopter, hike and jet boat adventure which is operated by Wilken River jets, based in Makarora, a 50 minute drive from Wanaka town ship.
This is one of Luxury Adventures favourite experiences around Wanaka and represents excellent value along with an unforgettable day! On a recent trip to Wanaka I was fortunate enough to experience it first hand.
The adventure begins in Makarora with a scenic helicopter flight taking in aerial views of Mt Aspiring National Park, with its towering ice carved mountains and glaciers. The helicopter allows you to get up close to the snow capped mountains and waterfalls, glacier lakes and offers birds eye views of the valleys & clear blue rivers below.
The next part of the adventure began when we landed in the remote Siberia Valley, where our helicopter pilot Harvey dropped us in the valley at the start of the waking track next to the banks of the Wilkin River. He pointed out the start of the track and direction in which to walk, its a well defined track which to start follows the river. The views are absolutely stunning, and you really feel at one with nature, so peaceful with only the sound of birdsong and gently rushing water. The track begins to climb upwards for a while through native forest, the climb isn’t too strenuous, and as long as you have reasonable fitness you’ll be fine, the overall time allocation allows plenty of time for the walk so you can enjoy it and take in the view’s and not feel rushed. The hike is around 8km, and you have 3 hours to complete it before meeting the jet boat. As you descend down into the valley you’ll see signs for the jet boat meeting point and meet up again with the river. We got to the meeting point ahead of schedule and had time to relax in the sun, take photos and enjoy the views. We recommend you take a small back pack with water, perhaps some snacks, sunblock and insect repellent, in colder months a fleece jacket or rain coat. During the entire walk we probably saw a handful of other hikers its a great way to see the real New Zealand. Quite often you won’t see anyone!
The last part of your adventure is a thrilling jet boat ride through the icy blue waters of the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers. You get to enjoy a 50 minute jet boat ride in the World Heritage listed Mt Aspiring National Park. The jet boat driver stopped occasionally to talk about the history of the area, the region has a rich history, and was known to Maori as Kaika Paekai (the place of abundant food). Of course any jet jet boat ride wouldn’t be complete with out those 360 degree thrilling spins!!!
The standard Siberia Adventures ends after the jet boat ride, where you meet a driver and van on the river banks who will return you to Makarora and your car.
You can enhance the trip to a private heli and jet boat, and also add in a gourmet picnic lunch. Patsy one of the owners of Wilken River jets surprised me with the addition of a private picnic on the river banks. It was a really special treat! The jet boat dropped the two of us off and waiting on the river banks was Hayden, another of Wilkin River’s jet boat and heli pilots, with a BBQ and picnic hamper, we were served a gourmet lunch of whitebait fritters, venison sausages and fresh salads. The whitebait and venison were both locally sourced. To accompany the fantastic spread was a chilled bottle of New Zealand wine and cold beer. There are other options to increase the length of the walk which takes you to a slightly different area. Ask us about adding these tailored options to your itinerary.
Wilkin River Jets is owned by Harvey and Patsy Hutton.
Kay Campbell is a luxury travel consultant for Luxury Adventures. Talk to us about planning your next visit to New Zealand, Australia or the South Pacific Islands.