Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Great Trips – New Zealand VII

Continuing to recap our 2000 Kiwi adventure in New Zealand…

Another beautiful morning in Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand!  What should a couple of tourists do today?  Yesterday it was a leisurely boat ride on Lake Wakatipu… Perhaps we should take on a bit of what is termed an ‘adventure activity or experience’??  How about a different kind of boat ride!
Its twenty-eight miles to the town of Glenorchy up at the north end of Lake Wakatipu.  Glenorchy is a center for adventure activities of all sorts.  Examples are trekking or tramping, bungy jumping, canyoning, kayaking, etc.  Did I mention jet boat rides on the Dart River?!

FYI…the drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy, which follows the shores of Lake Wakatipu, has been selected as one of the Top 10 Scenic Drives in the World by both Conde Naste and Lonely Planet. 
Laurie captured a photo of this jet boat coming towards us on the Dart River.  It was a great ride with fabulous scenery!  My only complaint was that the pilots really enjoy giving their passengers a thrill…by slamming into sudden 360 degree turns!  I was sitting on the outside railing and my ribs were aching when the ride was over… Of course, Laurie was just fine as she had me for a big cushion...
Here’s another view of the Dart River, this time it’s near the spot where the Dart empties into Lake Wakatipu.  The sand bars in this area of the river are so large that they can spawn dust storms when a high wind kicks up.  We actually drove through a small dust or sand storm on our trip…
Here’s another view of the mountains along the Dart River… Note the snow-capped peaks in February, which is New Zealand’s equivalent of August in the USA.

The Dart River flows out of the Mt. Aspiring National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site.  For more information on the park, go to  The World Heritage site itself covers over 10,000 square miles and it encompasses no less than 4 of New Zealand’s National Parks.   The site is thought to contain some of the best modern representations of the original flora and fauna present in the prehistoric continent of Gondwana, which is one of the reasons for its listing as a World Heritage site.
This is yet another view along the Dart River… The Forbes and Humboldt Mountains tower over the scene!  The Dart is the primary river flowing into Lake Wakatipu.  
I took this photo directly from the Dart River Jet Safari's website.  As you can see, following the channel upstream at high speeds in a jet boat can be a bit exciting!
This photo also came from the Dart River Jet Safaris website.  We had a blast! 

For more information regarding Dart River Jet Safari experiences, just go to  A 3-hour safari costs $299 NZ for an adult and $119 NZ for children. ($247.00 and $98.00 US at current currency exchange rates)
There is an alternate jet boat experience over on the Shotover River.  The Shotover jet boat experience is located a little over 4 miles from Queenstown.  That river also feeds into Lake Wakatipu.  These boat rides take passengers up into the Shotover Canyons along the river.  They advertise that they’ve carried 3,000,000 passengers since they opened in 1970.  Rates are $129.00 NZ for adults and $69.00 NZ for children. (Roughly $107.00 US and $57.00 respectively)

For more information on the Shotover Jet Boat experience, just go to 
The following day after our jet boat experience, we headed south around Lake Wakatipu past Kingston on our way to our next Kiwi adventures.  Along the way we spotted this terrific looking old locomotive with matching passenger cars.

After the gold rush started, the need for rail service to Kingston from the coast was evident.  The first train reached the town in 1878.  There was regular passenger service from the 1890’s until 1957.  The government of New Zealand funded restoration of part of the railroad in 1971.  The railroad has had an up and down history ever since…going into receivership in 2000 only to be rescued once again.  Despite locomotive problems and service suspension in December of 2012, the train is operating once again…although I did note one report that the line was up for sale.
The train is named the Kingston Flyer.  The engine is an NZR Ab Class 4-6-2 Pacific tender steam locomotive.  A total of 141 of these locomotives were built in New Zealand.  During the summer time, the train makes 2 trips along about 8.25 miles of track.  Fares are $60.00 NZ for adults and $30.00 NZ for children. (Roughly $50.00 US and $25.00 respectively) First class compartments are available as are wine and tasting platters. 

We just didn’t have time to take this side trip, although we sure would have liked to ride this train.  Maybe next time!  For more information regarding the Kingston Flyer…and some great photos…just go to
That’s about it for this segment of our trip!  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and vicariously taking part in one of our favorite vacations!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. All your photos really capture the beauty of this gorgeous country. I fear I'd hate to leave:-). Have a great day, Dave. Blessings...Mary

  2. What a fabulous trip, gorgeous scenery! How did I know you would find a train?

  3. Gorgeous pics, what a great trip! And a 360 turn, yikes, bet it was fun for Laurie! Love the train pic especially! Have a good weekend, my friend!

  4. wow..oh my goodness the beauty! definitely a GREAT TRIP catagory!

  5. The color of the water is really amazing!

  6. What a beautiful place, the pictures are stunning!