Why You Should JetBoat in Queenstown, New Zealand

You simply have to jetboat in Queenstown, New Zealand, if excitement is your thing!  The adrenaline rush is unbelievable as the jetboats travel over 50 mph in just 3 inches of water. The boys were desperate to take a ride and there were many companies in Queenstown all vying for our business.

We ultimately decided to use Shotover Jet as they had an impeccable safety record and great reviews.

JetBoat Prep

Arriving early for our scheduled ride allowed us time to prepare, put on our life vests and listen to the necessary safety briefing. Despite the chilly water  our excitement only grew as we geared up for the adventure ahead.

Jetboating in Queenstown with Kids

We arrived about an hour before our scheduled ride for the safety talk and to get into our life vests.  It was quite cold and the spray from the river was already freezing before we began.

The Biggest Smiles

Zipping up and down the Shotover River, we marveled at the towering canyon walls that seemed to pass by in a blur. The sensation of skimming past these cliffs with mere inches to spare was both exhilarating and awe-inspiring. As the boat navigated through fast rapids and under cascading waterfalls, we couldn’t help but scream and yell in excitement, completely immersed in the moment.

Our jetboat ride consisted of a 25 minute exhilarating ride between the narrow canyons of Queenstown, doing 360° spins and high speed fish-tails. The scenery was as breathtaking as the ride itself!Thrill RIde - Jetboating in Queenstown with Kids

Our jetboat zipped up and down the Shotover River, skimming past high canyon walls with inches to spare. With the jetboat reaching speeds of over 50 mph in just inches of water, the adrenaline rush was real. The skilled driver maneuvered the boat with precision, executing thrilling 360° spins and high-speed fish-tails that left us on the edge of our seats.

Shotover RIver - Jetboating in Queenstown with KidsThe boat skims the water’s surface at high speed, taking hair-pin turns sideways, and pulling 360-degree turns in inches of water (since they don’t have propellers.)
Jetboating in Queenstown with Kids for fun

Hang On Tight!

Our driver took our jetboat over fast rapids and under waterfalls.  He was quite skilled and scared the heck out of us, but we felt comfortable knowing he was completely in control. Mom Jetboating in Queenstown with KidsWe drove about 10km down the river weaving  in and out of the canyons, skimming the rocks and side cliffs.
mom Jetboating in Queenstown with Kids for thrillsshotover river Jetboating in Queenstown with Kids

We all screamed, yelled, and held our breath during this heart-thumping thrill ride.

Jetboating in Queenstown with Kids for fun
Look…. no hands!

kids who Jetboating in Queenstown


Overall, jetboating in Queenstown with kids is an adventure not to be missed. From the heart-pounding excitement of the ride to the stunning scenery of the Shotover River, it’s an experience that will leave the whole family breathless and wanting more. If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity that showcases the beauty of New Zealand’s landscapes, look no further than a jetboat ride in Queenstown.

This is a definite ‘must-do’ when you are in Queenstown.  I would advise you to bring gloves, a beanie and a waterproof warm jacket, as the wind chill and freezing cold canyon water, makes it very very cold.

Jetboating in Queenstown: Insider Secrets

For families considering a jetboat ride with kids in Queenstown, it’s essential to come prepared. The high speeds and frequent turns mean that you’re likely to get wet, despite the raincoats provided.

If you are considering a jetboat ride with kids in Queenstown, New Zealand (or probably in most places) here are some things you should know before you begin:

  • You’ll get wet. They do give raincoats but with the high speeds and frequent turns water is often sent spraying into the jetboat and into your face… and it is freezing cold!
  • Do not wear baseball hats.  If you do, it will for sure get blown off your head when the wind is whipping past. The boat moves extremely quickly!
  • Wear warm, waterproof clothes. It’s very cool in the canyons, the water is freezing and it feels even colder when you’re zipping through it at more than 50 mph.  Gloves would make your experience more comfortable too!
  • Sit on the driver’s side. Those sitting on the driver’s side of the boat seemed to get closer to the canyon walls than sitting on the other side of the boat. If you want your jetboat ride to be as thrilling as possible, sit on the left side of the boat.

This was a thrill ride without a doubt!

Queenstown was our home-base for our visit to New Zealand’s South Island. We took some amazing day trips to Dunedin to see penguins and to Milford Sound. And we loved learning about the Maori culture on the North Island.

Have you been jetboating with kids? What did you think?

About The Author


I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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