Kawarau River

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Kawarau River: Our most recommended tours and activities

Queenstown: Kawarau River Jet Boat Adventure

1. Queenstown: Kawarau River Jet Boat Adventure

Discover Queenstown’s untouched and pristine wilderness during an authentic jet boat adventure across Lake Wakatipu and along the historic Kawarau River. Choose from a 25-minute or 1-hour experience and spend more time on the water with a convenient departure right from the heart of Queenstown. Depart from Thunder Bay next to Steamer Wharf in the heart of Queenstown and travel far up the Kawarau River, covering a distance of 47 km. Along the way, listen to interesting commentary from your experienced driver. After getting equipped with a life jacket and spray jacket, climb on board and experience exhilarating 360-degree spins, skimming the water at speeds of up to 95 km/hour.  Then, travel down the river where it is calmest, even when the lake is rough. Take your camera along to capture the stunning scenery of your jet boat experience with frequent photo opportunities.

Queenstown: Half-Day Guided Ebike Wine Tour

2. Queenstown: Half-Day Guided Ebike Wine Tour

This half-day adventure begins from the town center and transfers you to Arrowtown. From there you will set off with a local guide and a fully kitted ebike for a one-of-a-kind ride through the Wakatipu Basin. This gentle track winds its way through quiet river valleys, down quaint country lanes, and over impressive suspension bridges. As you enter the Gibbston Valley, enjoy a break at the historic Kawarau Bridge and visit the World Home of Bungy. The ride continues along the strikingly blue Kawarau River and through lush vineyards. The reward comes at the Kinross Cellar door where you will end the day sipping boutique Gibbston wines. The trail is easy and hard-packed, perfect to explore on an ebike. Unique in Queenstown, these bikes are built to keep the trip scenic, comfortable, and fun. The ebikes are “Dutch Style”; upright with a taller frame and a riding position that gives greater comfort and visibility. They are easy to ride, simple to operate, and allow for as much or as little effort as the rider wants to exert. They are also fitted with panniers for gear and any purchases along the way. Mudguards to keep the rider clean and fresh. This guided tour covers all the bases: a fully kitted ebike with panniers, water, snacks, wine tasting, guide, and vehicle support at designated points along the trail. This tour is perfect for those who want to get out and get active (but not too active) and finish the day tasting some delicious regional wines.

Queenstown: Gibbston Valley Half-Day Canyoning Adventure

3. Queenstown: Gibbston Valley Half-Day Canyoning Adventure

Get introduced to the fun and thrilling sport of canyoning at Kawarau Canyon on an half-day tour. Jump in a van for a 20-minute van transfer from downtown Queenstown into Gibbston Valley's wine country. Immerse yourself in the sport of canyoning whilst enjoying the beauty of your natural surroundings. Professional and qualified guides will kit you out with all the best equipment. Benefit from a full safety briefing and demonstration on all the elements of canyoning before heading out for adventure. You'll take an easy 5-minute walk to the canyon start point. Before you know it, you'll be off down the canyon, sliding natural watersides, trying your hand at abseiling down waterfalls and having the most awesome summer experience ever. This canyon is open to first-time canyoners as well as experienced adventure seekers, looking for an awesome activity in a safe and controlled environment.

Queenstown: Guided E-Bike Tour with Winery Visits & Tastings

4. Queenstown: Guided E-Bike Tour with Winery Visits & Tastings

On this "Ride to the Vines" tour, you will cycle on a powerful e-bike that gives you an opportunity to ride faster and further. Thanks to the help of the bike, you will be able to spend most of your energy spotting interesting places and enjoying the local scenery along the way.  First, you will visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown, and ride along the Arrow and Kawarau rivers. Crossing suspension bridges you will also visit the oldest bungy jumping bridge. Then the Gibbston Valley will welcome you with views of extensive vineyards as far as the eye can see.  At the boutique wineries, you will learn about the secrets of vine growing. Personalized wine tastings with your knowledgeable guide will make your trip exclusive and memorable. The final stop is at a local farm café, where you can have lunch and soak up the relaxed atmosphere of the valley. You will then be transferred from the café back to town.

Queenstown: White Water Surfing Along the Kawarau River

5. Queenstown: White Water Surfing Along the Kawarau River

Bodyboard up to 12km down the iconic Kawarau River. You’ll enjoy riding white water rapids and even get a chance to try surfing on standing waves, riding whirlpools as well as catching some underwater currents if you are brave enough. The fast Kawarau River bursts with energy, and this trip will challenge your nerves from start to finish. About 1-1.5 hours will be spent in the river.  The bodyboards are light and highly maneuverable, allowing you to be more active in the water. It's the perfect choice for someone looking for the ultimate adventure. You can even choose your own board depending on how much adrenaline you can handle. River surfing is best suited for people who want the full white water experience. You'll get the opportunity to also enjoy some of New Zealand's spectacular scenery on the more gentle parts of the river, and you can also stop for a jump from the cliffs along the river.

Other Sightseeing Options in Kawarau River

Want to discover all there is to do in Kawarau River? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Kawarau River

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 180 reviews

Adam, our tour guide, was amazing and the way he could manoeuvre the boat was incredible. It was an awesome fun and informative activity

We'll definitely come back again. It was fun and very enjoyable. Great experience and would highly recommend everyone to try it

The guide was lovely, helpful and very knowledgeable. The boat ride was awesome! The scenery along the way was breathtaking

It was a great experience getting views from the lake. The Guide was exceptional with his explanations.

Great experience. Lots of fun excellent driver. Highly recommend