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Shot over and Dart River boats....just a thrill ride or ???

Shot over and Dart River boats....just a thrill ride or ???

Feb 22nd, 2010, 09:41 AM
  #1  
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Shot over and Dart River boats....just a thrill ride or ???

Looking at the website this boat ride with the 360's etc. seem more like a disneyland ride then a scenic adventure.

All the posts are positive...."thrilling, scary, fast, adreline rush" etc. and everyone seems to have a good time when they go but I'm more interested in scenery and nature wildlife etc.

Do you see much of the scenery and is there any commentary or is this boat all about going fast and spinning around?

We are also planning on a milford sound cruise and don't know whether his fast boat is a must.?

p.s. I love rollercoasters, speed ect but it seems strange to be whizzing by amazing scenery....
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 09:53 AM
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You can take the wilderness safari or funyak excursion up the Dart River instead of jetboat/jetboat. The jetboat is good for getting farther up the river where cars cant go.

The scenery up the Dart Valley is amazing. You could also rent a car and drive to Paradise and a bit farther, but beyond that you need a 4wd.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 10:07 AM
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we'll have a car so driving up to paradise would be a good option??
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 02:48 PM
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I've done both the Shotover Jet and the Dart River Safari. The Shotover Jet was just a thrill ride, but the Dart River Safari was a scenic trip (gorgeous!) with commentary and a few spins tossed in for good measure. It also included a walk through the rainforest.

Because the Dart River Safari leaves from Glenorchy and you have a car, you might consider taking the morning Dart River Safari, then driving to Paradise and exploring the Glenorchy area in the afternoon. And just a word about Paradise from my own experience...it's elusive and you won't really know when you get there.

Also, beware the fords...the drive to Paradise is basically a rough unsealed road through a cow paddock and the fords can become impassable after rain (I suspect it's also a rental car violation, but that's never stopped us).
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 03:03 PM
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jaspertl -

I looked up my trip report from when we took the Dart River Safari - these were my comments:

"The sun was out, so we called Dart River Safaris and booked the 12:50 pm tour ($145 per person) then headed to Glenorchy).

After arriving at the tour office in Glenorchy, we were divided into two groups – ½ were to take the bus and ½ were to take the jet boat. We were to go on the jet boat first, so we donned life vests and rain gear over our coats, hats and gloves, then boarded the jet boat for our 1.5 hour ride. In our group, there were two jet boats and 21 people.

The ride was fun, especially going downstream, as we went a lot faster and did more spins. Our guide made several stops for photos and to point out areas of interest. It was incredibly scenic and I’d highly recommend this tour. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

After the jet boat portion, we met the other group onshore, gave them our life vests, and then walked a short distance through the forest to the waiting bus. We then returned to Glenorchy, stopping for photos along the way.

The tour would have been more enjoyable if the group was smaller. There was a lot of time spent checking everyone in, gearing everyone up, swapping life vests, etc. The scenery, however, was spectacular."
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 03:58 PM
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I drove to Paradise in my rental car, crossing a few shallow fords. Getting to Paradise isn't quite as dramatic as Mel makes out. I'm assuming the bus from the jetboat goes back over the same road that I drove on, since I saw several of the busses carting loads of funyaks. It's also quite easy to drive to Kinloch from Glenorchy, and to the head of the Routeburn Track. I spent a few nights at the Kinloch Lodge and it was a beautiful location. Check my trip videos under :trip reports:!

If you're nervous about driving you can take the "Wilderness Safari" option instead.
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:12 PM
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I guess it depends on the time of year mlgb. We travel in the winter, spring and fall and believe me, that road isn't smooth sailing year round.
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:38 PM
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It has been raining for about 3 days straight just prior to my trip but of course, one should inquire about road conditions and if in doubt just turn around or go on an escorted trip. There is one ford that I was afraid was a little too deep for a rental car without 4wd, but that is past Paradise. If you go to Google Maps, you can look up Paradise and see where the drawn-in road ends. The road up to that point was fine. However the scenery gets better and better the farther up the Dart you go!

Another option for a combination of scenery &/or and jetboating is Skipper's Canyon. That one, is definitely on the "do not go" list for rental vehicles. I went with Nomad Safaris, who uses Land Rovers. The other operator has larger busses but has the jetboat concession.

I wouldn't bother with the Kawarau jet.
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:41 PM
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I put up another video on youtube, that has the Skippers Canyon excursion on the first part. I actually did get a few flakes of gold in my pan!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1SJUgRBOuw
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 06:25 PM
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OK...thanks so much for that. I think the Dart River is the way to go albiet expensive. The website makes it look amazing...could the river really be that color?

I like the idea of taking the boat in the morning and driving a ways and checking out Paradise afterwards.

thanks again for the tips!!
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 08:53 PM
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Yes, it really is that color.

http://www.worldisround.com/articles.../photo130.html
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 08:10 AM
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gorgeous....I used your photo for my background on my computer...hope you don't mind.
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 08:20 AM
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That sounds like a good plan. You might find that the tour takes you thru enough of Paradise, if so you could drive across to Kinloch, also very beautiful. In the afternoon light the section called "the Hillocks" is gorgeous.
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 01:39 PM
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how far do you think it is from paradise to kinloch and do we need a 4w drive?
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 02:53 PM
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jaspertl -

Mind? Heck, no, I'm flattered.

No, you don't need a 4WD to get to Kinloch. I can't remember how long it took to get there, but we were there in August (winter) and we encountered road damage, heavy equipment, fords and sheep, which made it slow going. The road was unsealed and I assume it still is - mlgb was there recently and can give you a more recent road report.
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 04:28 PM
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Hi jaspertl

Here's all you need to know about getting to Kinloch from either Glenorchy or Queenstown. The only part that is unsealed is the final 9km to Kinloch. When I did it, it was a gravel road, rutted, but no big puddles. A bit teeth-chattering. You can also take a launch from Glenorchy, but I would do the drive, it is really worth it. You could always call the Lodge and ask how the road is, and turn around when the pavement ends if it's been raining a lot.

http://www.kinlochlodge.co.nz/Gettin...2/Default.aspx

btw
Dinner at the Kinloch Lodge was really good, but they are strict about reservations for dinner..I think there is just the chef and no helpers in the kitchen. I was not able to dine there the first night of my visit (fully booked). The little Glenorchy Cafe was good too, it's on the same side of the road as the possum skin place (possum tails $1!) and the Dart River Safaris office.
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 04:47 PM
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Paving exists all the way from Glenorchy to beyond the bridge over the Dart River, just past the Hillocks. the Routeburn splits off to the north and Kinloch Road to the south. You can see it on Google Maps Satellite version quite well. In fact you can even use that little man feature to look at the scenery.

Expect to add some time for photo stops!
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Feb 24th, 2010, 01:43 PM
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melnq8....your first royalty check's in the mail :0)

Your suggestions are wonderful....so could we do this?
take the dart river expedition in the morning. (We think we're going to do the boat, walk, 4wd option) drive up to Kinloch and explore, have dinner at the lodge and then drive back to Glenorchy or QT to spend that night.

Would that work??. I looked at the lodge too and we might do that but if not could we drive back after dinner??
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Feb 24th, 2010, 01:59 PM
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Yes, that would work.

We enjoyed walking a section of the Greenstone Track, which begins 12km past Kinloch. Now that I think about it, that's probably why I remember the road being so rough, we drove further than the lodge.
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Feb 24th, 2010, 02:00 PM
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You can do that, what time of year are you going anyways?

The lodge was fine as a place to stay, as long as you don't mind shared bathrooms and insects and you'll take your chances that there might be a loud group congregating on the lawn (they're supposed to be quiet after 10pm, but...) Even the "Wilderness Rooms" had comfortable beds. The only thing to really warn about is that since you're on the edge of the water, there will be flying insects..I did dose myself with repellent before walking along the shore where the campground is, and this might be the only lodging I've stayed where there are screens on the windows..although they're not going to be 100% effective. So if that will concern you, you'll want to return to Queenstown. BTW I did not get bit at all..and I am very sensitive to sandfly bites. Maybe they were full!
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