Triple treat for Gibbston

Main players: From left, Jeremaia Fisk,Tim Bayliss, Darb Richmond and Lloyd Ferguson

Earthmovers are shaping an adrenaline-packed adventure playground at the gateway to Queenstown.

Opening mid-summer at Gibbston’s Victoria Flats, Oxbow Adventure Co. will comprise unique jetsprint boats, 4WD off-road buggies, and claybird shooting.

Oxbow operated in Wanaka for five years, till 2017, but is relocating to Queenstown to capture a larger tourist market, including passing highway traffic.

The 17-hectare site, on Mt Rosa Station, will include a one-hectare manmade pond with about five islands which the jetsprint boats will weave around, 4WD tracks, some on steep hillside, and a claybird shooting station.

The site’s being extensively landscaped with up to 15,000 natives and rock features to hide it from the highway.

Punters can do all three activities or one or two.

The business partners are Wanaka’s Darb Richmond and Tim Bayliss, with support from Richmond’s father-in-law Lloyd Ferguson who founded Oxbow on his Wanaka property.

The lead project manager and landowner’s rep is Arrowtowner Jeremaia Fisk, who also project-managed and designed Gibbston’s Kinross Cottages and wine cellar.

Ferguson says what’s unique about Oxbow are the custom-built sprint boats and buggies which will have specialised drivers – “these two things you can’t do anywhere else”.

The boats, built and designed by seven-time world jetsprint champion Peter Caughey, go from 0 to 100kmh in two seconds – “it is probably the fastest four-seater commercial ride, around a track, in the world”.

The four-seater buggies were designed by national off-road champion Dan Cowper.

Having champions design the boat and buggy, Ferguson says, “is like having Schumacher build your car”.

Richmond says they’ll be able to put throoughthrough about 60 people an hour – while a boat and buggy are on course, the next one will be loaded so it’s ready to go straight afterwards.

He adds that the claybird shooting station will cater for beginners right through to advanced shooters.

“Our goal would be that every person hits a clay – we’ll have specialised instructors.”

Richmond thinks Oxbow will also appeal to the conference/corporate market “because they can do three activities in one spot”.

Being close to AJ Hackett’s Nevis bungy jump and accompanying thrills, Fisk says there could be a chance for link-ups.

He believes with Gibbston already renowned for its wineries, the extra activity options, along with cycleways and increasing accommodation offerings, will only enhance its appeal.