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Ultimate Queenstown

Dart River Funyaks

Dart River Funyaks

Posted by Dave Fahey: 24th Feb 2014 @ 20:26:21

This summer I have had the pleasure of being able to take numerous people from around the world and New Zealand up the stunning Dart Valley. While I have made a return to driving Jet Boats in Queenstown, the raft guide in me has be rekindled, as I have also spent some time moonlighting for Dart River Funyaks. Simply put Funyaking is inflatable canoeing & is one of the real hidden gems in the Queenstown activity offering.

In my opinion the Dart Valley represents real New Zealand, somewhat of an untouched Gem, and on this tour you discover every last corner of it. Your day starts with a hotel pickup and a 45km scenic drive along Lake Wakatipu as you make your way to Glenorchy. Upon arrival you are kitted out with all of the equipment you will need to make your day on the river safe and enjoyable. And this is where the day starts to get awesome. Instead of just your standard moads of transport, you are whisked to the start of your trip on the great Kiwi Jetboat. During this trip you get a full commentary on the area plus get your hair blown back with some 360 spins.

On arrival at the top of the river you find your canoes ready and waiting and provided a full safety briefing. The best thing about it is once you push off the shore you are the master of your own destiny paddling yourself down the Dart River. Now for the scenery – WOW! We all know NZ has some pretty stunning vistas, but these are amongst the very best. Not only are you paddling through Mount Aspiring National park, you are also paddling through a UNESCO World Heritage Area. Everywhere you look you are dwarfed by glaciers and snow-capped mountains with stunning native forest reaching all the way to the river’s edge.

And then there is the jewel of the trip, the Rockburn Chasm. Half way down the river you pull off the Dart River and venture up a small tributary to where you have lunch. The water in the Rockburn is as clear as Gin and you can see the stones on the bottom some 12 meters below you. You are pointed towards a crack in the rocks, and as you paddle inside the chasm opens up and snakes up the valley. You can paddle almost 200 meters up the creek, all the while you’re inside an earthquake crack with share rock walls and ancient beech forest towering overhead. Meanwhile the Guides are preparing a stunning lunch for you to enjoy on the riverbanks. Insect repellent is a must however as the sandflies can be vicious.

Did I mention Lord Of The Rings – the whole time you have been negotiating the river, and snapping shots of the mountains you have been traveling through numerous Lord of the Rings scenes. And as you depart from the river and join the bus trip back down the valley the guides point out more of these.

While this is not the cheapest activity to do in Queenstown at $319 per adult it represents pretty good value for money. You will be away from Queenstown for 7 – 8 hours, be provided with all of the equipment necessary to make the whole experience comfortable, be ripped up the river in a Jetboat, have a fully guided canoe trip and fill up your belly's with a full buffet picnic lunch included.

If the great outdoors is your thing then this is a pretty good way to see and experience it all!

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