News

This Insane Boat Ride Whips You Down a Narrow Rocky River at Over 50MPH

If New Zealand's stunning natural beauty and elaborately sculptural frozen desserts aren't enough to convince you to visit the small island nation, let us present you with yet another reason to get your butt to the country that's gifted us the greatness of Lorde and Flight of the Conchords. Meet Shotover Jet, a death-defying joyride through narrow winding canyons on a hair-raisingly fast speedboat.

The thrill ride, which has been up and running since the '60s, takes 15 daredevil passengers at a time on a special "jet boat" through the famous Shotover River canyons. It's essentially like whitewater rafting on steroids, treating riders to a full-throttle adventure in which the specialized watercraft careens around tight corners, does full 360-degree spinouts, and narrowly avoids enormous sheer rock cliffs while hitting speeds of up to 52mph. Oh, and you better be down to get wet, because you most definitely will. 

Just a 10-minute drive from Queenstown, the adrenaline rush-inducing excursion lasts about 25 minutes, and has allegedly been enjoyed by over three million passengers since it debuted, including Kate Middleton and Prince William. It's not a cheap thrill, either, since tickets will set you back a little over $100 a pop, per person. And if you want in, you'll want to reserve a spot ahead of time (especially in peak season), because it's one of the region's most popular attractions.

After watching the above footage, you may reasonably be wondering just how safe it is to strap in. However, the captains of each boat are expertly trained to carefully navigate the river without actually hitting anything, keeping you on the edge of your seat as the landscape whirls by in your peripheral vision. Do you dare?

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.