Jet boating on the Wairau River

The Thirsty Travellers enjoyed an early Christmas present on Monday: a jet boating ride in Tea Anau.

It was filled with so many wow moments.

DJ was mad keen to jet boat during our holiday on New Zealand’s South Island and we ended up doing it in the most perfect location.

As we were driving up the highway from Invercargill, we decided to try and make it into Te Anau for a 6pm booking with Fiordland Jet. But when we called the office they cautioned that the weather was pretty dodgy and to check again closer to Te Anau.

They called us back about an hour later and said they’d decided to cancel the tour, but they promised us the weather would be gorgeous the next morning, so we booked two seats.

When we arrived in town, we watched the sun set over Lake Te Anau and sipped wine in the Black Dog wine bar instead, which is a great spot for an evening tipple.

Holding off on jet boating was a great decision. The next day dawned with glorious blue sky and zero wind.

We had an incredible morning jet boating with our driver Rebecca (pictured main), the daughter of the owner of the company.

While Rebecca looked like she was 16 tops, she assured us she was “much older” than she looked … 20 … positively ancient!

But she was a great driver and a highly entertaining guide, being more laconic than a 60-year-old cattle farmer.

When DJ asked how long she’d been driving jet boats, she told him it was her first day … actually her second … she’d gone for a practice run the day before.

The truth was that her dad suggested when she was 18 that she become a jet boat driver in the family business – she jumped at the opportunity and is currently the youngest licensed driver in NZ.

Although, she said passengers sometimes refuse to get in the boat with her because she’s a young woman. But she spun that boat around in doughnuts on Lake Manapouri like nobody’s business.

It was a sensational two-hour experience, without another boat or human in sight.

We also jet boated along the Wairau River, the setting for 90 seconds of Lord of the Rings, which took 300 people, three months and three million dollars to film.

Here’s a video by Fiordland Jet of a typical experience on one of their jet boat rides:

Afterwards, we hit the road via the local pie shop, Miles Better Pies, where we picked up yummy venison pies to truffle in the car on the drive to our next destination, Milford Sound.

A fantastic day! Four thumbs up from The Thirsty Travellers.

Fiordland Jet is based at 84 Lakefront Drive, Te Anau, New Zealand

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