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Queenstown’s Dart River Jet has been operating from Glenorchy for over 25 years


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About Dart River

Queenstown’s Dart River Jet has been operating from Glenorchy for 25 years.  As the only operator allowed to operate on the Dart River we love sharing our knowledge by taking people on journeys of exploration deep into the Te Wai Pounamu World Heritage Area.  

Dart River Jet boat on braided riverDart River Jet is based at Glenorchy at the top of Lake Wakatipu. The short scenic drive of 46km (allow 45 minutes) from Queenstown has been rated as one of the top ten scenic drives in the world. Watch out for Bennetts Bluff – a must do photo stop just over half way there.  

Glenorchy is small village community of about 300 people. Farming, building and tourism are now the main industries in the area. In years gone by Sheelite & Gold mining, forestry all had their turn. Before that this valley was the source of the only Pounamu (Greenstone) found by Māori on the eastern side of the main divide and highly prized for tools and ornaments. There is even the shortest registered railway in New Zealand at the town wharf that used to connect to the SS Earnslaw when it formed part of the railroad system. With the road from Queenstown opening in 1966 the need for boat access dwindled and now we are fortunate indeed to see the Earnslaw more than once a year.  

Dart River Wilderness Jet boat FunAt Dart River Jet we now employ anything from 20 to 50 staff depending upon the season. The company is owned and operated by Ngāi Tahu Tourism based in Christchurch. All our Jet boat maintenance is undertaken through the Shotover Jet developed Reliability Centred Maintenance program. Our biggest asset is the forest and mountains that stretch away to the Main Divide. The skyline is dominated by Mt Earnslaw at 2830m high and its range of peaks that stretch away behind it. It is not only us who thinks this. Many films and commercials are shot in the Glenorchy area and up the Dart valley every year, seeking to incorporate and take advantage of what nature built.   

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