This is the best activity hands down for the entire trip! We signed up for this as an optional tour, which takes an entire day, but definitely not like how Milford Sound is. Funyak is the only operator operating on Dart River. They have two types of tour, one with the kayak, and the other one that brings you into the wilderness for a walk. Of which, we took the one with the kayak that ends in a place called Paradise (where LOTR was shot). We took the 4WD in the morning from our hotel and drove down to Glenorchy. Special shoutout to our driver cum guide, Matt. Crazy funny guy who made us all awake in the morning and looking forward to the activity! The ride took about 45mins, with a photo stop in between. Beautiful weather that day, with ice capped Mt Earnslaw in the background.
When we arrived, we were given out wet suit and wet boots to change into. Would recommend a bikini or swimsuit underneath for summer trips, the sun do get quite hot in the afternoon, so wearing too many layers would make you very uncomfortable. We were also given a wet bag so that we can place all the valuables and cameras into the bag. Remember also to spam lots of sunblock. The sun in New Zealand’s is crazy!
So firstly, we all got onto a jet boat and took a one hour ride along Dart River, going upstream. The day was really really beautiful, and the views from the river was super impressive. Dart River feeds Lake Wakatipu and comes from the various glaciers in Mt Aspiring park. I have made up my mind to make sure I go hike the entire New Zealand the next trip there. For now, I need to train my stamina and save more money.
All of us got really frozen after the one hour ride with all the cold wind & water blowing on our face. The ride is slightly different from the one we took at Shotover river as this one is more gentle and allows photo taking. I’d placed my camera in the waterproof bag before I took the ride but because the case is longer than my lenses, it kept obstructing the view. T^T and the quality of the photo was definitely compromised.
& at the end of the 1 hour jet boat, we got down at an area to get into our kayak. We got briefed on some safety stuffs and how to kayak properly and set off downstream. Really loved this part because the river is very gentle yet fast flowing at the same time. So most of the time we simply placed the paddle into the boat, whip out our phones or cameras and start snapping away.
Halfway down the river, we stopped by this really beautiful place, where we could make our own sandwich and enjoy the view of the mountains and the river. Beautiful beautiful place! & of course, the highlight! While the other batch was having their lunch, we took our kayak in and paddled into the chasm. This place is just too pretty to be described!
A chasm is formed when the earth cracked and water flowed through the cracks, and after tens and thousands of years later, a chasm is formed! My camera just had to die just right before we went into the chasm & my spare battery was in the locker. Was such a pity I couldn’t get HQ pictures or video of that place.
Our guide/instructor asked if we would like to do cliff jumping from the top and pointed to this height which I thought was okay. Climbed out and realised it wasn’t as low as I thought it was. ~.~
Landed on my tummy and hurt like hell, woke up feeling aches on my tummy, lol! But definitely worth the fun! One of the instructor said my jump was the best for his day that day hahahahahah. & so, afterwards we headed for lunch. The view was impressive! Best lunch view ever!
After lunch, we paddled downstream again and eventually stopping at a place called paradise, could really see why it is called paradise. That was a also a place where they filmed LOTR.
The fun doesn’t just end there! We got back up on the vehicle (being wet and all) and went for 4WD. Went passed filming sites for Wolverine, LOTR, was explained Vertical Limit (hell nerve wrecking show) was shot in New Zealand around this area, as well as the image of Coors which was supposed to be the Rockies.
& when we went back to Glenorchy, they were having their Glenorchy Races! (which happens on the first Saturday of the New Year!) Crazy stuffs apparently! Too bad we didn’t stay to watch the races.
So here’s a video (yes, i’m trying to do more videos) of the entire trip out on the Dart River!
I would highly recommend everyone who is in Queenstown to take this up! #noregrets! Kids can do this activity too as the waters are shallow, we have a few on the batch with us that day!
Be sure to check out this awesome tour over here!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored trip! Everything was my own expenses.