New Jetboating Safari
Moving into the less busy season, it's of course time to put together new product. Our reputation hinges not only on flawless logistics and accommodation recommendations but very much on innovative days which connect our travellers with our country in a high quality, unique, complex and enjoyable way.
Jetboats have long been one of our favourites and we have put together many one-off special days. Here is our latest, connecting travellers with the dry hinterland of Central Otago through a jetboat safari.
Jetboats use a water propulsion unit called a jet, not a jet engine. This is the same sort of water propulsion unit which you see on jet-skis. The jet was invented in New Zealand as a clever way of navigating the very shallow water we get on our South Island braided rivers.
It is smooth, fast and very manoueverable. It has been turned into tourist attractions in what I consider an "amusement park" sort of ride - the very professional, successful and enjoyable Shotover Jet being the prime example.
But originally it was not used as a 20-minute thrill ride narrowly avoiding rocks in canyons. Originally it was used to discover and access remote areas. This is what I call a "safari" rather than a thrill ride.
This latest safari starts in the Kawarau Gorge with a thrill. Then heads down towards the winegrowing area of Bannockburn, carefully navigating through shallow riverbeds. After a possible stop in Cromwell's Old Town for a coffee and a touch of history, we continue onto Lake Dunstan and south towards the Clyde Dam.
This is safe open water where our clients can take the wheel and get a feel for what this boat can do. Our destination - a remote stone shepherd's hut for a cup of tea brewed over an open fire and a gourmet picnic in this lovely and remote stop.
The terrain is very dry, almost parched and the place is home to one of the world's largest gold rushes which went from untouched around 1840, to pioneer sheep farmed from 1850 and then gold rushed from 1860 before drifting back to farming in the 1880s.
Once you are ready to head back, it's wheel time once again, a stop at a vineyard in Bannockburn with a plate of nibbles and some wine, and then the thrilling finish narrowly avoiding boulders in the Kawarau Gorge.
The ride is of course tailored to each client group in terms of how fast and how extreme we take it. Many thanks to Hamish Egerton of Goldfields Jet who has put this day together with us.
Very different to Waitangi Day with Ngapuhi but nonetheless exciting, informative, beautiful, intelligent, and opening a window on a key part of our culture, history and geography.