on May 26, 2010
I arrived at the Queenstown pier ready for a boat ride. I only started suspecting a thrill ride when I was handed a giant, waterproof coat fit for a Dark Lord’s wardrobe. Sure enough, as my jet boat flew over Lake Wakatipu toward the Kawarau and Shotover rivers, I found myself using all of my might to stay in the boat. And just like that, I was off on a genuine Queenstown adventure.The jet boat is a Kiwi invention, and once it gets going, it needs only three inches of water to operate—perfect for the shallow, braided rivers of Queenstown. Our white-knuckle brushes with mid-river rocks, hanging tree limbs, and bridge piles were thrilling—until our first 360-degree turn, which dwarfed all speeding and zig-zagging that went before. Before each 360, our fantastic driver, George, gave us a warning so that we could hang on tighter (if that was even possible).Between boat tricks, George slowed down so we could dig out our cameras and photograph the sparkling yellow leaves lining the river, and so he could share commentary about the area. The hour-long ride was, in fact, a perfect mix of adventure, scenery, and information.The most exciting part was the home stretch, when our half-empty boat (don’t worry—it started out half empty) picked up the current and soared back to the dock. With Queenstown rushing by and the wind in my now-wet hair, I couldn’t have been more thrilled with this unexpected thrill ride.
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