Discover the Mt Aspiring National Park with Wanaka River Journeys

A visit to the spectacular Matukituki Valley should be at the top of any visitor's list of things to do in Wanaka, and there is no more thrilling way to see it than from a jet boat. Wanaka River Journeys offer a selection of unforgettable tours which give you the chance to experience some incredible mountain scenery, to learn about the local cultures and wildlife, and to enjoy a thoroughly exhilarating experience. This family-run business has been operating since 2005 and has received the Qualmark Enviro Silver award for their efforts to preserve and promote this astoundingly beautiful area. Enjoy Wanaka jet boating with the local experts for an experience you will never forget. 

Matukituki Valley

Experience the Matukituki Valley with the team from Wanaka River Journeys (Photo credit: Wanaka River Journeys)

Tours leave from outside i-SITE 99 Ardmore Street in the lovely township of Wanaka. A 20-minute scenic shuttle ride around the edge of Lake Wanaka will bring you to the Matukituki River. Here Wanaka River Journeys will kit you out with life jackets and you’ll receive a brief safety talk from your guide. Then the jet boat will whisk you along the spectacular glacier-fed river at speeds of up to 80-kph.  Be sure to bring a jacket and layers of clothing appropriate for the season. You should not get really wet but waterproof overcoats are provided, if required, to protect you from the spray. Wear flat shoes with a good grip and don’t forget your camera because there are going to be lots of fantastic photo opportunities.

The trip up the river lasts about an hour and you will be blown away by the spectacular ice formed scenery and it is no wonder that this shallow, braided river is one of the favourite places for jet boating in New Zealand. At the top of the river, deep within the Mount Aspiring National Park you will disembark and enjoy an unforgettable wilderness walk lasting about 50-minutes. Depending on the weather and river conditions your walk may take you to Mcgill's or Mill Creek, or up the East or West branch. You may get a chance to stand beneath the mighty Avalanche Glacier, one of the most famous and impressive Wanaka attractions, and to observe the icy waterfalls cascading down into the valley below.  You will walk through peaceful ancient forests where moss covers the tree trunks, and you will discover a crystalline waterfall where you can enjoy a rejuvenating feeling of tranquillity and serenity. The walk is fairly easy and suitable for just about everyone, and on these Wanaka guided treks you will learn about the natural formations and wildlife from the local experts who accompany you.

Wanaka River Journeys Riders will enjoy unforgettable views of the Mount Aspiring National Park (Photo credit: Wanaka River Journeys) 

During the Wanaka jet boat tours, you will wonder at the majesty of Mount Aspiring, and enjoy the beauty of Glendhu Bay. You will see various locations where scenes from the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit were filmed, and you will certainly be enchanted by the incredible beauty of the scenery of this World Heritage Site.  Finally, it will be time to embark onto the jet boat again and head back to base. The return trip lasts just 45-minutes as the flow of the river helps you on your way, and the adrenaline will be flowing with the exhilarating sensation of the speed on the water.

Whichever tour option you choose, you’ll enjoy some of the finest Wanaka activities and attractions with the friendly and knowledgeable local guides and crew of Wanaka River Journeys. Visitors wanting to travel to Wanaka from Queenstown can hire a Queenstown Airport rental car and take State Highway 6, then Crown Range Road which merges into Cardrona Valley Road. Not to be missed, the drive takes little over an hour and includes some of New Zealand’s best scenery.