Day 11 Tuesday 25 February – Haast JetBoat, Queenstown

We woke this morning hoping that it was going to be a fine, clear and crisp morning as Maria and the two of us had arranged to do a helicopter flight to Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. This had been originally organized for yesterday afternoon but as it was raining when we arrived, it was postponed until this morning.  Unfortunately, because of low cloud we were not able to go, even although it wasn’t actually raining.

We left Fox Glacier just before 8.00am and headed south along the coast in the mist, passing beside various rivers that were shrouded with mist and we stopped at Paringa Salmon Farm for a comfort stop.  We crossed the Moeraki River, which was beautifully mirrored and made our way to the Haast River for our Scenic Jetboat adventure. By now the sun was out and the skies were blue and it had turned into a perfect day! We loaded up two jetboats with 15 people each (some of our tour group decided not to come) and put on our life jackets, ready for our 1½ safari up the Haast River. These jet boats are enclosed, with glass sliding windows and a glass roof but we still got the adrenalin pumping sensation of riding a jet boat, skimming across the water, close to the banks, making spectacular manouvres to negotiate objects, shallows, and the natural curves of the river. Our driver, Vicki, stopped several times so that we could get good photos of the incredibly beautiful scenery and to explain some of the history of the river.  One of the things she explained was that the river used to be further over, but the huge amounts of gravel that had come down in the last glacial melt/flood caused the river to change direction, cutting a new path and undermining some of the trees along the new banks.

We travelled at speeds up to 45 miles per hour passing Mark’s Range and the Harris waterfall and stopped along the banks of the river and we got off the jetboat to take in the stunning scenery, before boarding the boat again for our final run to a place called Roaring Billy, including several 360 degree spins, which were exhilarating – everybody loved it and were surprised at how quickly the time had disappeared!!

We boarded the coach at about 11.30 and continued our journey, following the Haast River up the Haast Pass and down the other side, thoroughly enjoying the scenery along the way – rivers, bridges, deep gorges and areas where massive avalanches had occurred.

We stopped at Makarora for lunch, with the snow capped Mt Aspiring in the background, before continuing our journey past the beautiful Lake Wanaka and the picturesque Lake Hawea, where we had a photo stop.

We crossed the Cluha River at Albert Town – the Cluha is the 2nd longest river in New Zealand – and we also passed the world famous Wanaka Airbirds Exhibition centre where they hold the “Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show” every 2 years (Patrick would love all these aeroplanes!)

We stopped at Cromwell at Jones Fruit Shop for a comfort stop – we were very impressed with the huge arrangement of fresh fruit, vegetables, packaged nuts of all varieties, specialty chocolate covered things – ginger, strawberries, kiwi fruit etc, as well as yoghurt covered cranberries (an Ella delight) and every imaginable dried fruit.

Our next stop was at Arrowtown, where we had the opportunity to wander around the streets looking at the old buildings of this former gold mining town, before continuing our journey to Queenstown.  We passed over the famous Shotover River and could see the beautiful Remarkable Mountain Range.

We were taken for an orientation tour of Queenstown and then settled into our very impressive hotel, The Copthorne Hotel and Apartments, overlooking Lake Wakatipu.

The four of us decided to have a light dinner here at the hotel in the bar lounge, which we all thoroughly enjoyed,

What a great day we have had!!!

5 Responses to “Day 11 Tuesday 25 February – Haast JetBoat, Queenstown”

  1. Janet says:

    Wow, yoghurt covered cranberries – Ella would be impressed! 🙂

  2. Katharine says:

    Patrick would love the planes. He is currently running around the lounge room with his helicopter above his head!

  3. Katharine says:

    Just looked at the photos – tell Aunty Maria her walking pharmacy in her suitcase is probably bigger than that little pharmacy you had a photo in front of!!

  4. Gail says:

    Can’t believe we’ll be there in just over 6 weeks and heading for the air show itself.
    Your photos are bringing back many happy memories. I think another road trip of NZ is on the cards in our retirement.

  5. sandy says:

    We throughly enjoyed our trip to NZ. I think another road trip to NZ for you and John is a great idea!!

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