Joining the Queenstown Bay jet set


It’s a grey day and I’m wearing at least seven layers. 

My fingers feel like they’re frost bitten and my breath lingers in the cold air – what a brilliant day to go jet boating! 

The Thunder Jet Queenstown jetboat hums alongside the jetty. 

Ten others and I pile cosily into the boat. Our driver Max Perkins says if there’s not enough room you’ll have to hang off the sides like an Indian train. 

If he feels like shaking things up, he says, he’ll lift his hand and warn us to brace ourselves for a 360-degree spin. 

“Hold on tight otherwise we might lose you over the side.” 

I feel sorry for the Italian next to me – not only is he not wearing gloves – I don’t think he caught much of what was said and with the limited space between us I may just end up, in an undignified way, sprawled across him. 

The boat takes off and we glide across the lake at 80kmh and it feels like we’re almost flying. 

A spin is indicated from Max. I brace myself, legs tightly pinned against the foot platform, and hands holding the bar so tight I think I could have wrenched it off. The boat spins to the right and I think my intestines are nearly going to come out of my mouth. 

We head around the Gardens towards the Kawarau River twisting and turning along the way. 

After this hour trip I’m going to have abs like steel from all the bracing against the motion. Ha, yeah right. 

Although the continuous late-stage dodging of dismembered branches, rocks and the occasional duck or two is intentional it still scares the living daylights out of me. Max delivers amusing historical commentary every now and then. 

After a 47-kilometre round trip we arrive home, safe and sound at the jetty. 

With legs like jelly I retreat indoors to thaw myself out.

All you need to know 

What Thunder Jet Queenstown 

Where Convells Jetty, Queenstown Bay (next to Earnslaw Park) 

Cost $95 (adult), $50 (child) 

Thrill-o-meter (should be chill-o-meter) 6/10