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Kawarau River
Kawarau River

Kawarau River

Queenstown

The Basics

Whitewater rafting on the Kawarau River offers Class II and III rapids suitable for beginners but exciting enough for adrenaline seekers. High-speed jet boat adventures begin across Lake Wakatipu, with close-up views of spectacular scenery throughout the rugged Kawarau Gorge. Visitors looking to try riverboarding (or sledging as it’s called in New Zealand) can use a purpose-built board to skim waves and whirlpools in the Roaring Meg section of the river.

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Queenstown Jet 1-hour Jet Boat ride on Lake Whakatipu and Kawarau River
Queenstown Jet 1-hour Jet Boat ride on Lake Whakatipu and Kawarau River
star-4.5
$66.03 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Fancy a spin
Hold tight for a thrill , even the bumpy lake ride was fun, felt very safe and loved the fact that they gave you some information about what we were seeing . Fast and fun not too wet and friendly people
Kay_H, May 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Queenstown

star-5
Fun on the water
Lisa_D, May 2022
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
Great knowledge of the driver. Was alot of fun Exilerating. Great safety instructions felt it was great value for money. Highly recommend the experience.
star-5
Great experience
Jordan_D, Apr 2022
Queenstown Jet 1-hour Jet Boat ride on Lake Whakatipu and Kawarau River
Host was great!! He was giving us a lot of info that actually mattered. Boat ride was a good amount of time to not to long to to quick. Just recommend taking lots of layers. Can get a bit chilly.
star-4
The description of how...
Ruth_B, Apr 2022
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
The description of how the river flow had changed during the morning while we were out as a result of overnight rain
star-5
Awesome experience
Garry_B, Apr 2022
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
Great fun Professional outfit Easy to access Value for money Would recommend this experience to everyone. A must when you visit Queenstown.
star-5
Highlight!
Tarsha_B, Mar 2022
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
Highlight of our trip! Was such an awesome way to see the beautiful views and the excitement of the spins was 10/10! We all raved about it and will definitely do again!
star-5
Unforgettable
Greig_S, Jan 2022
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
Queenstown always love the views The weather was amazing too First time for the kids , they loved it
star-5
Great value for money
JohnLindsay_W, Jan 2022
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
This was a great value fun exciting exhilarating 50 minutes Lots of spins Everyone loved it Great attraction right in Queenstown
star-5
Definitely worth the...
Byron_M, Jan 2022
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
Definitely worth the money!! 10/10 recommend. Would do it again in a heartbeat! Pilots are great too and know what they’re doing
star-5
Awesome staff awesome ride
Anthony_M, Jan 2022
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
Had an awesome experience our captain was very skilled and had a lot of knowledge on the surroundings of Queenstown , throughly enjoyed will definitely recommend
star-5
My 10 yr olds favourite thing on our trip
Cellena_I, Jul 2021
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
The best time!!! Everyone has to do this!! Driver was awesome and so was the experience...the family loved it :)
star-4
360 spins
Isobel_S, Jul 2020
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
I had a fantastic time and I am definitely going to do this again. However, I just hope next time I do it that’s it’s not raining and it’s a beautiful day so I can see more views. The pilot was excellent and made it fun for all. I look forward to seeing them all next time 😊
star-5
Kjet after covid
Jason_G, Jun 2020
Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
Great time with plenty of grins. Knowledgeable and good humoured guide. Recommended for most age groups.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The region is a must-visit for nature lovers and water-sports enthusiasts.

  • Tours, activities, and day trips most often include hotel pickup and drop-off.

  • Remember to dress for variable weather, bring sturdy footwear, and wear sun protection.

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How to Get There

The river is a short drive from Queenstown and Arrowtown, and plenty of tour groups will shuttle you to the river if you book an activity with them. Since Lake Wakatipu empties into the Kawarau River, jet boat rides and other excursions often set out from the lakeshore.

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When to Get There

Water-sports enthusiasts flock to the region during spring and especially summer (September–February), putting popular river tours in high demand. In autumn (March–May), the rocky slopes surrounding the Kawarau River turn brilliant shades, and skies tend toward clear blue. Winter sees snow, but most tours run year-round. Bridge activities operate daily.

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Bike Riding and Wine Tasting

The Gibbston Valley wine region, tucked between the gorge and schist hills, can be reached via shuttle or bike rental from nearby Queenstown or Arrowtown. More than a half dozen wineries serve award-winning pinot noir, and offer a chance to relax with a winery tour and tasting. A moderate-level bike route parallels the emerald ribbon of winding water, with plenty of scenic picnic spots and photo ops along the way.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Kawarau River?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Queenstown?
A:
As well as visiting the Kawarau River, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: