Queenstown
Water Sports

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Our most recommended Queenstown Water Sports

Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

1. Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

Get an adrenaline rush on a 1-hour jet boat ride, operated by the world’s first commercial jet boat company. Take in stunning views of the Remarkable Mountains and journey up 2 of South Island’s most iconic rivers.  Depart from the heart of Queenstown, and climb aboard the big yellow jet boat at the Main Town Pier. Hold on tight as you accelerate across the water and feel the exhilaration of a high-powered twin-engine boat that powers across Lake Wakatipu. Experience the twists and spins as you enter the Kawarau River and race past rocks and under bridges at speeds of up to 95 kilometers per hour.  Grip the heated handrails and experience 360° spins while you speed up the shallow channels of the Shotover River. After 45 kilometers of pure adrenaline, return to the pier and see photos and videos from your trip.

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Skippers Canyon Thrilling Jet Boat Ride & Scenic Transfers

2. Skippers Canyon Thrilling Jet Boat Ride & Scenic Transfers

Enjoy a spectacular guided tour of Skippers Canyon followed by a thrilling jet boat ride through the narrowest canyons on the Shotover River! Take on the only jet boat ride where you experience the historic gold mining relics that still remain in the river and Lord of the Rings locations.  Meet your friendly driver in central Queenstown and head up into historic Skippers Canyon. Enjoy live on-board commentary from your knowledgeable driver and marvel at the stunning scenery. Journey through a land rich in gold mining history and breathtaking views via the infamous Skippers Canyon Road, hand-carved out of the vertical rock face over 120 years ago.  Upon arrival to the Shotover River, you will be provided with a life jacket and warm gloves. Feel your adrenaline surge as you power deep into Skippers Canyon through the narrowest canyons on the Shotover River. Highly skilled jet boat drivers maneuver the boat just inches from the sheer canyon walls. Your excitement levels will be sky high with speeds in excess of 80kph and a series of full 360° spins. After your ride, your driver will take you back to the jet boat base to view footage from your ride before the trip back to Queenstown through the breathtaking canyon!

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From Queenstown: Shotover River Whitewater Rafting Adventure

3. From Queenstown: Shotover River Whitewater Rafting Adventure

Start the tour with a fun drive to the rafting take-off point via Skippers Canyon. The 4x4 drive is an experience in itself; the narrow dirt road hugs the canyon's sheer cliffs and offers spectacular views over the river you'll soon be soaring down. At the rafting base, get fitted in all your gear and listen to a full safety briefing.  Begin your whitewater rafting adventure from Deep Creek. Cruise over peaceful waters before heading towards the exhilarating rapids of the lower canyon. Feel the adrenaline pumping as you paddle through the rapids and into the darkness of the historic, 550-foot Oxenbridge Tunnel before shooting over Cascade Rapid to complete your adventure.

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Shotover River: Extreme Jet Boat Experience

4. Shotover River: Extreme Jet Boat Experience

Take on the ultimate jet boat experience on the Shotover River for breathtaking ride through dramatic and narrow canyons. Located less than 10-minutes drive from Queenstown. Self-drive or climb aboard the courtesy shuttle bus in downtown Queenstown. A short ride will have you at the shores of the Shotover River. Meet your experienced guide and gear up for your high-speed jet boat ride. Hold on tight as the driver expertly navigates the jet boat over white-water rapids and squeezes through the narrow walls of the Shotover Canyon. Speed past rocky outcrops, skim around boulders, and zip through the dramatic and narrow canyons as its walls tower above you. After 25 thrilling minutes, return to the jet base and relax on the shuttle transfer back to Queenstown.

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Queenstown: 15-Minute Ride in a Semi-Submersible

5. Queenstown: 15-Minute Ride in a Semi-Submersible

You will be taken on an adrenaline-packed tour of stunning Lake Wakatipu. Sit back in the state-of-the-art cockpit of this semi-submersible machine and get ready to feel the G-force as your expert pilot provides you with an experience you’ll never forget. Looking through the F-16 fighter-grade glass you’ll see the sky disappear as your pilot descends into a dive underwater for 5-15 seconds, and then launches 18ft (6 meters) into the air. You can also roll on a 90-degree angle, do tight doughnut turns and much more. With top speeds of 50 mph (80 kph) on water and 25 mph (40 kph) underwater, this ride is guaranteed to get your heart pumping. Trips are one-on-one with your pilot so you can push your own limits, flying above or below the crystal clear waters.

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Queenstown: Kayaking or SUP Experience on Moke Lake

6. Queenstown: Kayaking or SUP Experience on Moke Lake

Explore the Queenstown backcountry through this kayak or SUP adventure on the beautiful Moke Lake, located only 20 minutes from Queenstown. This stunning location will let you see another side to Queenstown: a quieter, more peaceful side to the "adventure capital of the world." Your guide will collect you in a minibus from Queenstown and transport you out to Moke Lake. During the journey, you'll chat about the area, a great opportunity to ask any questions you might have for a local expert. On arrival at Moke Lake, one of the team will run through the safety briefing as well as any top tips before setting you up in the kayak and sending you off into the lake to paddle around at your own pace. Explore this horseshoe-shaped lake and admire the lush natural surroundings as you breathe in the fresh air and tranquility.  When you're done, return shore where there will be some traditional kiwi refreshments waiting for you.

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Queenstown: Shotover Canyon Giant Rope Swing

7. Queenstown: Shotover Canyon Giant Rope Swing

Feel an adrenaline rush like no other as you jump off a 109-meter (357-foot) high cliff, experience a 60-meter (197-foot) free fall, then swing over 200 meters (656 feet) out into the stunning Shotover Canyon. Take the leap with the help of your expert jump-masters, who will bring you back to the platform after your swing. Start your adventure checking in with the local partner's crew at the central meeting point in Queenstown. Then, take a 15-minute drive out to the stunning Shotover Canyon. After a short briefing, get helped into your harness and choose your jump style: forwards, backwards, upside down, flips, or even off on the chair! Fling yourself off the platform edge and delight in a thrilling experience. Once your swing is over, check out your photos and videos and decide if you would like to purchases them to show off to your friends. Finally, the local partner's team will drop you back in town at the original meeting point.

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Queenstown: Gibbston Valley Half-Day Canyoning Adventure

8. 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.

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Milford Sound Extended Helicopter Flight & 3 Landings

9. Milford Sound Extended Helicopter Flight & 3 Landings

Discover isolated valleys of ancient forests, pristine rivers, and mountains sculpted from ice over thousands of years–from the air, in an extended helicopter flight! Upon landing in Milford, enjoy a short nature walk and snap that iconic Mitre Peak photo. Experience an exhilarating flight past spectacular mountains and blue-green ice falls, and land upon a glacier in the heart of Fiordland National Park, then take a high-speed flight along the length of the fjord to alight on a wild beach on the Tasman Sea! Today, many of the local landscapes can be recognized because of their use as film locations. You can even fly over where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed! The pilots regularly work with film production crews and are happy to share plenty of stories of life on the film set. Finally, for the photo opportunity of a lifetime, alight on a glacier and enjoy panoramic views. These highly experienced, well-known local pilots can’t wait to share with you their extensive knowledge and history of the area while showing you the best of New Zealand's amazing scenery. Please note that there may not be snow on the day of your flight depending on the season, especially during summer.

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From Queenstown: Skippers Canyon 4-Wheel-Drive Tour

10. From Queenstown: Skippers Canyon 4-Wheel-Drive Tour

Take a drive through the historic Skippers Canyon on this half-day heritage adventure along the rugged and treacherous Skippers road. While your guide navigates this awe-inspiring canyon, visit many historic sites such as the Skippers suspension bridge and the township of Skippers. In this town long since abandoned, discover the many original buildings waiting for exploration. Visit the restored schoolhouse and gain an insight into the local heritage of life in this tough environment through photographs and artifacts from the early days of the settlement. On your return to Queenstown, stop to try your hand at gold panning in one of the richest gold bearing rivers in the world.  Created by being hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley and heavily featured in "The Lord of the Rings," British Automobile Association voted Skippers Canyon road as one of the 25 most scenic roads in the world.  

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Other Sightseeing Options in Queenstown

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

What people are saying about Queenstown

It was exciting, fun and yet so comfortable. Cima the instructor made me feel as I was made for doing it everyday. Pick up amd drop off offered and a must do for all.

Fun, quick time filler with easy access fron Queenstown wharf. Really friendly workers and driver

Beginning to end it was really an experience to remember. I can't recommend enough.

Informative guide and Spectacular view in the canyon, one must not missed.

My grandson LOVED this trip. He wanted to go again. Highly recommended.