Paddling Adventures on the Shotover River

Shotover River Rafting

I have a feeling that boredom’s outlawed in Queenstown. We arrived in QT with no clear plan, yet in a matterof minutes, we were able to come up with a jam-packed itinerary for our next 3 days.

The skies weren’t so clear on Day 1, so even if we were so eager to hop on a plane and hurl ourselves off, we decided to stay grounded — or rather drenched and half-immersed — on a day’s outing in the Shotover River.

The adventure capital’s not known for being cheap, but if you’re considering to do a lot of activities anyway, it is well worth checking out the Queenstown Combos offered. Generally, bookings get cheaper if you club activities together and pay for them at one draw.

The Shotover Jet ride was a bit calmer than I thought it would be, but it's a nice way of taking a peek upon the insanely-gorgeous QT scenery.
The Shotover Jet ride was a bit calmer than I thought it would be, but it’s a nice way of gazing upon the insanely-gorgeous QT scenery.

We definitely wanted to try some rafting (as we were bound to get soaked by the rain anyway); a ride on the Shotover Jet also seemed like a good way to ease us along adrenaline-pumped QT. As we realized there was only a little difference in the fees, we decided to throw in a bonus helicopter ride onto the rafting launch site.

Bird's eyeview of Skippers Road and the canyon
Bird’s eyeview of Skippers Road and the canyon

It turned out that was a really good move — short but sweet-as, the helicopter ride had us gawking at the multi-colored trees, the gargantuan canyons, the death-defying stretch of Skippers Road, and the twinkling aquamarine of the Shotover River. It was a spectacular bird’s eye-view that we were blessed not to miss. What a way to lay eyes upon where we were rafting for the first time!

Yup, that's where we're going to meet our Maker.
Yup, that’s where we’re going to meet our Maker.

The chopper dropped us off at the starting point of the rafting, where we geared up and assembled to listen to a few paddling do’s and don’ts. Chief, the head guide and one heck of a towering Kiwi, was definitely entertaining. In between deciphering his Maori slang and trying to follow his acrobatics across the raft, he actually delivered one of the best safety demonstrations I’ve ever seen.

Heath, our guide on the raft for the day, then took over and taught us the ropes on the raft. My raft buddies and I were a bit uncoordinated at first, but we soon got the hang of it. The rapids were lively and as clear as day, making it thrilling and mesmerizing at the same time.

Paddles up!
Paddles up!
It's not a good rafting story until everyone gets thrown around and soaked.
It’s not a good rafting story until everyone gets thrown around and gets soaked.
A mellow stretch on the river -- a time to appreciate the stunning landscape Queenstown is known for.
A mellow stretch on the river — a time to appreciate the stunning Queenstown landscape. It’s a knock-out from any angle.
To the Batcave!
To the Bat-cave!

The grand finale was a shoot through an old mining tunnel, at whose end awaited a brief plummet of rapids. Definitely the icing on top of the adventure-laden cake. We gave ourselves a paddle high-five, and then ran like headless chickens out of the chilly river and onto the hot showers.

Thanks for the chilly-warm welcome, QT!
Thanks for the chilly-warm welcome, QT!


The Ka-Ching Rundown

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