New Zealand’s Best Places for Jet Boating

I love jet boating. You get all the thrill of a rollercoaster ride, but you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery. Plus it’s a great way to cool off.

Jet boating is kind of a big thing in New Zealand. It was invented here, after all. I’ve been jet boating all over the country, so where’s the best place for it?

Well here’s my list of the

Top 5 Places to Go Jet Boating in New Zealand

– let the countdown begin!

5) Rotorua

My first ever New Zealand jet boating experience was on Lake Rotorua. It was tame in comparison to other experiences on this list, but still fun. It was a great way to see the lake and learn about Rotorua’s history – a sort of half thrill ride, half informative tour. Check out the Kawarau Jet website if you’re interested.

4) Auckland

Taking a cruise around Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf is a fantastic experience. There’s so much to see, including the impressive island volcano of Rangitoto, pods of dolphins and the Auckland City skyline itself. Add to that a few heart-stopping spins and you’ve got one hell of a jet boat ride. You can find Auckland Jet Boat Tours down at the Auckland Viaduct Harbour.


This picture, along with the other pictures in this article, was purchased by my family from Rapids Jet, following our wonderful jet boating experience with them. (See below.)

3) Christchurch

My family visited Christchurch on our South Island campervan holiday. It has a few jet boating options. To the north there’s the Waimakariri, a beautiful braided river that flows from the Southern Alps through a canyon, so you’ve got stunning mountain scenery, waterfalls, cliffs and wildlife, as well as high-speed thrills in clear water that’s sometimes worryingly shallow. To the south there’s the Rakaia Gorge, which featured in The Amazing Race and is just as beautiful. Check out Waimak Alpine Jet, Jet Thrills or Discovery Jet.

2) Taupo

To the north of Lake Taupo lies New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction: the Huka Falls. They’re a pretty impressive sight from the bridge that crosses them – I stood there for ages. But my boyfriend has been right up to the bottom of them in the Hukafalls Jet, and there’s no better view than that. Despite the ferocity of the falls themselves, however, the river leading up to it is quite calm, so if you’re looking for a more hair-raising jet boat ride in Taupo then try Rapids Jet. That’s what my family did – it’s where all the photos in this article come from. Jet boating on rapids is so much better than doing it on flat water – there are only so many spins you can do before it gets boring.


1) Queenstown

Queenstown is one of the many places my family’s taken a campervan rental in New Zealand. It was during that holiday that I had the best jet boating experience of my life. It makes sense – Queenstown is New Zealand’s adventure capital; there are heaps of jet boat operators in and around it. Lake Wanaka, for example, is a gorgeous glacial lake with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains – imagine jet boating there! There are simply too many incredible places to choose from, but I think you’d find it difficult to top the Shotover River Canyons.

The Shotover Jet was just… wow. The ride and the scenery were both breath-taking. It was scary – the boat actually left the water at times, skimming over rocks and around canyon walls. The colours of the walls and the water seemed unreal. I spent the entire ride simply marvelling at the nature around me. And screaming with delight, of course.


Gosh, I haven’t been jet boating in a while and writing this article is making me want to go again! Pity it’s an expensive thing to do. For a cheaper (and slower) water activity, you could try kayaking. Check out my 10 Awesome Places to Go Kayaking in New Zealand.

What to Do in Auckland for Free

If you’re coming for a holiday in New Zealand, chances are you’ll be landing in Auckland. It’s New Zealand’s biggest city, but not the capital – that’s Wellington. Auckland is where I live – where I chose to come for university – and I’ve spent a lot of time exploring it.

The free parts, of course.

Around Auckland 012Where to start? Well, you could take a walk down Queen Street – the main street, named after Queen Victoria – but you won’t find much that differs from any other city in world. It’s the narrow side streets I like, such as Vulcan Lane and High Street. They’re enchanting. I always have to resist the temptation to spend money in the posh boutiques and cafes, but there are pretty fountains to see as well.

Such as this one, a memorial to the suffragettes. New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote.

Such as this one, a memorial to the suffragettes. New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote.

Down one of these side streets is the Auckland Art Gallery. It’s free to enter, but even if you find art galleries boring, it’s interesting to walk past. The building itself is a work of art, and there’s usually something weird on display outside it.

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The Art Gallery backs onto Albert Park, which is typically full of university students. It’s a nice place, with art, statues, a bandstand, weirdly awesome trees, flowers and yet another fountain.

If you like parks, though, you have to go to the Auckland Domain.

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It’s a large area, incorporating beautiful gardens, duck ponds, a restaurant and a place that does nice ice-cream, miniature bush walks, splendid views across the sea to a volcano, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The volcano’s called Rangitoto, and it’s nearly as much a symbol of Auckland as the Sky Tower.

Around Auckland 033The Sky Tower is certainly not free to visit. It’s the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere and pretty much visible wherever you are in the city, so it’s impossible to get lost in Auckland, which is why I feel so safe exploring it.

A brilliant area to explore is the Waterfront.

At the bottom of Queen Street stands the grand, old Ferry Building. Walk through this and you’re at the sea. It’s busy with ferries and restaurants, but somehow peaceful at the same time.

The Viaduct Harbour is a great place to have a drink, but go through a psychedelic carpark and over a bridge, and suddenly you’re in what I think is a very strange part of the city. It’s like it’s trying to be all futuristic, with modern, artistically designed buildings, all interesting shapes and blocks of colour. There are screens around, pictures on the ground, bizarre benches, new restaurants and bars, and twisted, metallic things. Then there’s the silos.

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It’s called Silo Park; they’ve taken an old industrial site and turned it into a playground. The silos are painted and have poems on them. It’s a wonderful idea, but I find the whole place a little eerie. There’s a raised, metal walkway that doesn’t lead anywhere – it’s just so you can look out over the tops of the silos, and at all the yachts on the water.

There’s also vintage trams around there, but the tracks don’t go very far. The whole area’s still being worked on, though, so no doubt there’ll be more to explore soon.

Auckland 5

So there you have it. Auckland’s a fantastic city to wander round, even if you don’t have any money to spend, and I’ve only talked about the very centre of the city. There’s a lot more to Auckland, for example a whole array of regional parks that have picturesque walks, stunning beaches and places where you can park a self contained campervan for the night, so you don’t have to stay in the city itself, which is expensive.

Even so, I like living in Auckland because I always seem to stumble across something new. When I was out taking photos for this article, for example, I found something a little bit amazing down at the Viaduct Harbour.

A piece of Astroturf had been laid down, with unusual chairs arranged randomly upon it, in front of an old shipping crate that had been painted a cheerful colour. Inside this crate was an almost perfect living room, complete with an armchair, coffee table, wooden floor with a Persian rug, pictures on the walls and pot plants in the corners, and lots and lots of book cases. I reeled with confusion and crept closer. Who would leave all this – all these books! – unattended?

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I stepped into the crate and saw that there was bunting across the back wall, which read ‘B OK SWAP’ – one of the Os was missing. Oh! How lovely.

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No one was around. I must admit I felt tempted to take one of the books, with no intention of bringing back another to put in its place.

I didn’t.

To read more about what to do in Auckland, check out my Top 10 Things to Do in Auckland City list on NZ Top List.