travelling the seven parts of the world
Feb 13th, 2008

We spent the next day driving to Queenstown and doing some activities there. The first on the priority list was the Shotover Jet, the most famous jet in New Zealand, which operates in the very narrow Shotover river canyon. This is what they have to say about how the jet operates:

A Jet Boat is different from other boats; they use an internal propeller (impeller) to provide propulsion.

On our Shotover Jet ‘Big Reds’ water is drawn in through 2 inlet/intakes in the bottom of the boat, 2 jet units containing the impellors then drive the water out through 2 jet nozzles at the rear of the boat with great force (400 litres of water per second per jet unit). By turning the nozzles the direction of the water forced out the back of the boat is changed and the boat changes direction. The boat can brake and reverse using ‘deflectors’ and 'thrust buckets' similar to a jet aircraft. On our ‘Big Reds’ this happens in tandem, as there are two engines, two jet units and two jet nozzles.

The ride is a great thrill, as the boat runs really close to the cliffs, and does 360 degree spins. I'd suggest it to anyone who's in Queenstown.

Queenstown itself is titled the adventure capital of the world, and it does have a lot of great activities, including bungy jumping (of course), luge rides, gondola ride, jet rides, helicopter flights, etc. We had done most of these already, either in New Zealand or else, so we stayed here for just 1 night, and on the next day drove to Te Anau, which is the gateway to the Fiordland National Park, which is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the world.

The small town of Te Anau doesn't really have much going for it, so we merely planned out our schedule for exploring the park, and made the necessary reservations. It turns out weather was worst at the moment, and it was going to get better during the next 2 days, and then get worse again. So we decided that on the next day, when rain was most likely, we'd go on a cruise through the Doubtful Sound, and the day after that, when rain was less likely, we'd walk the first and most beautiful part of the Kepler Great Walk, then on the third day, when weather was expected to be the best, we'd go to Milford Sound, the highlight of the trip. The day after that was up in the air, if the weather's good, we'd go someplace, I'm sure we'd find where.