The Dart River Jet Boat Experience

   The Dart River Jet Boat Experience begins in the charming rural town of Glenorchy. Located about a 45-minute drive from Queenstown. As you take the drive, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Middle-earth. This region served as a backdrop for the renowned “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies. Each turn reveals breath-taking views and there are many opportunities to stop along the way for a snap or two.


If you are looking for high-end accommodation within the Glenorchy area, Blanket Bay is the perfect luxury lodge. Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the spectacular Southern Alps. It offers a stunning natural setting for visitors to enjoy. Guests can indulge in a variety of activities during their stay at Blanket Bay. The lodge offers opportunities for outdoor adventures such as hiking, fly-fishing, horseback riding, and heli-skiing. Guests can also enjoy scenic boat cruises on Lake Wakatipu or simply relax in the lodge’s spa and wellness facilities.

Dart River Safaris

Upon reaching the Dart River base, the friendly team will brief you on safety as and what to expect. They provide complimentary lockers (to secure items), life jackets, a Dart River face covering, and a full length waterproof jacket complete to keep you dry. We highly recommend taking a beanie, but Dart River Safaris also offer retail items to purchase like beanies, jumpers and souvenirs.

Once you’ve been briefed, you’ll be taken by bus (literally 1 or 2mins) to the lakes edge. You’ll board a powerful jet boat, purpose-built for navigating the Dart River’s shallow waters and braided channels. The jet boat ride itself is an exhilarating experience, combining high speeds, 360-degree spins, and skilful manoeuvres as you traverse the pristine waters.

The expert drivers, known for their local knowledge and mastery of the river, will ensure both safety and an adrenaline rush for all aboard. They also make short stops along the way for photo opportunities. It’s a nice touch having heated handles to keep your hands warm and our tip would be to get a seat at the front or middle of the boat for the most comfortable ride, especially in the cooler months!

Throughout the tour, your knowledgeable guide will commentate with stories and insights into the area’s rich Maori history, as well as its significance in the filming of the iconic Lord of the rings trilogies.

One of the highlights of the Dart River tour is a stop at a hidden, unspoiled stretch of riverbank. Here, you’ll get off the jet boat and stand on the river’s edge, allowing you to soak up these stunning surroundings.

Looking for a full day on the Dart River? The perfect option is Funyak inflatable kayaking. Here, you climb aboard your own Funyak kayak, specially designed for stability and ease of use, and paddle at your own pace downstream.

In summary

The Dart River Jet Experience in Glenorchy is a unique experience that showcases the raw beauty of New Zealand’s South Island. Speak to Luxury Adventures about including this in your itinerary. You can check out our sample itineraries here.

This blog has been written from the personal experiences of Steve McKean, one of the directors of Luxury Adventures.

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