The Dart River Funyak & Jet Boat Safari experience in Queenstown, New Zealand, is something I had been wanting to try for a very long time – purely based on the stunning scenery that it offers, the remoteness of the trip and the fact that it is a genuinely unique New Zealand adventure. It was the one activity that my new husband and I had the chance to do together on our post-wedding vacation and what an experience it was!
How to get there
- by shuttle: Dart River Funyaks provide a free pick-up and drop-off from the Queenstown Information Centre, Corner Camp & Shotover Streets, in Queenstown
- By car: Drive to the main township of Glenorchy from Queenstown – a 45 minute drive. Once in Glenorchy you will find the main Dart River check-in centre located on Mull St. The drive itself is so beautiful and scenic
- Untouched views of Mt Aspiring National Park
- 1 Hour Jet-boat Ride up Dart River into the National Park
- Return transfers from Queenstown to Glenorchy in a comfortable air-conditioned coach
- Informative commentary provided en-route
- Funyak (inflatable kayaks) experience, fully immersed in nature and paddling on crystal clear glacier water from the mountain run-off
- Paddle into the chasms and marvel at the crystal clear green water
- Delicious picnic lunch in the middle of the national park
- Back-country bus trip passing by locations used in the Lord of the Rings movies
What you’ll do
Enjoy beautiful scenery on the drive over
It was an early start with a pick-up of 7.45am from the check-in centre in Queenstown. The trip from Queenstown to Glenorchy where the experience takes place was breathtaking – the views were incredible and you can imagine all the admiring tourists who have lined up on the sides of the road to take pictures. We were blessed with incredible weather on this day so it added to the truly stunning scenery this part of New Zealand is famous for.
Upon arriving at Glenorchy, we were kitted up with our gear, a fleece top, wetsuit, booties and a spray jacket. This is where the experience truly begins! We boarded the Dart River jet boats at the end of Lake Wakatipu and began our voyage up the Dart River towards Mt Aspiring National Park.
Whiz up the river in a Jet Boat!
We were quite literally skimming on as little as 3 centremetres of water with rocks knocking on the bottom at speeds that blew my mind. There were spins and turns which had us squealing with excitement. The jet boat portion of our trip lasted for about an hour, stopping at certain points for those all important photo opportunities.
Paddle down the river in a funyak!
Following the jet boat, we arrived at a beautiful riverbank to find the funyaks lined up and ready to go. We hoped out of the jet boats to start the next part of the adventure – canoeing back down the Dart River. Sandflies were plentiful so we lathered on the insect repellent and took to the waters. The funyaks were so much easier to master than I had been expecting and my Hubby and I had a blast as we paddled back down the river.
It was like we were in another world, surrounded by nothing but nature and peaceful serenity. It was truly a magical experience. We canoed for an hour and a half until we reached the next stage of the journey. We even decided to take a quick dip in the river (I mean quick, because cold would have been an understatement). We made our way onto the riverbank where the picnic lunch was held, enjoying beautiful fresh salads and meat sandwiches, cheese, fruit and cakes to finish, whilst baking and warming back up in the sun.
Catch your breath on the transfer home
After lunch the funyak experience continued until we reached the end point where the 4WD bus had been waiting patiently to transfer us back to base – passing through farm land where we saw sheep, lambs, deer, ducks, and the list goes on!
Such an incredible experience and definitely a highlight of our trip.
The experience costs around $310 AUD per adult, $220 per child and $844 for a family of four, but can fluctuate slightly with the exchange rates.
Photo packs are available afterwards for purchase, making for a wonderful momento of the trip. The full photo pack with hard copy photos and access to all digital pictures is $39.
- 1 Hour Jetboat Ride up Dart River into the Mt Aspiring National Park
- 3 hour Funyak canoeing experience
- Delicious picnic lunch provided on banks of the Dart River
- Return transfers to the Dart River base in Glenorchy from Queenstown
- Personalised guide on the river for your funyak experience
(1 guide to every 8 people)
- Wetsuit, spray jacket, thermal jumper and wetsuit booties are provided
- Sunscreen and Insect repellent is provided once you arrive at the Funyaks up river
What to bring
- Drinking water
- Change of warm clothes
- Sunscreen and a hat for sun protection
- Insect repellent
An experience suited to all – young, mature, families and the like. It will almost certainly take your breath away, surrounded by the south island’s natural beauty and peaceful destinations. A true Kiwi wilderness experience!!!! It may seem like an expensive activity to most, but the value for money is well worth it, with the package including a day tour to Glenorchy, a jetboat ride for an hour, lunch and a multi-hour canoeing experience. In my opinion, this is a MUST-DO if ever visiting Queenstown or Glenorchy. Special thanks to Dart River Wilderness Jet and Funyaks for a simply amazing experience in New Zealand’s great outdoors!