Siberia Wilderness Adventure
The Siberia Wilderness Adventure, is a helicopter, hike and jet boat adventure which is operated by Wilkin River jets, based in Makarora. The journey is a 50 minute drive from Wanaka township.
This is one of Luxury Adventures favourite experiences around Wanaka. It Also represents excellent value along with an unforgettable day! On a recent trip to Wanaka I was fortunate enough to experience it first hand.
This backcountry 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 Mt Aspiring offers an unrivalled NZ backcountry wilderness experience. The helicopter allows you to get up close to the snow capped mountains, waterfalls and glacier lakes. But above all and offers birds eye views of the valleys & clear blue rivers below.
Hiking in the Siberia Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park
The next part of our Siberia Wilderness Adventure began when we landed in the remote Siberia Valley. Here our helicopter pilot Harvey dropped us in the valley at the start of the waking track, next to the banks of the Wilkin River. The track is well defined which begins to follows the river. The views are absolutely stunning, and you really feel at one with nature. It is 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 walk isn’t too strenuous, and as long as you have reasonable fitness you’ll be fine.
The hike is around 8 km (5 mi), 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 also intersect with the river again. Reaching the meeting point ahead of schedule we had time to relax in the sun, take photos and enjoy the views. We recommend you take a small backpack with water, perhaps some snacks, sunblock and insect repellent. In the colder months a fleece jacket or raincoat is recommended. During the entire walk we probably saw a handful of other hikers. Quite often you won’t see anyone! It’s a great way to see the real New Zealand.
Jet boating on the Wilkin River
The last part of your backcountry adventure is a thrilling jet boat ride through the icy blue waters of the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers. You’ll 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 without those 360 degree thrilling spins!!!
The standard Siberia Adventures ends after the jet boat ride, where you’ll meet with your driver on the river banks. They will then return you to Makarora and your car.
Upgrade your Siberia Wilderness Adventure with gourmet picnic options
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 Wilkin River jets surprised me with the addition of a private picnic on the river bank. It was a really special treat! 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 upgrade the experience. Ask us about adding these tailored options to your itinerary.
Wilkin River Jets is owned by Harvey and Patsy Hutton.
Luxury Adventures – Tailoring luxury travel in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Islands since 1999.