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Queenstown river boarding

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Queenstown is a resort town in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand's south island. It is built around an inlet on Lake Wakatipu, a long, thin lake shaped like a staggered lightning bolt. It has magnificent views of nearby mountains.

Queenstown is a centre for adventure tourism — skiing, jet boating, bungy jumping, mountain biking and tramping.

It also has a reputation as a wine and cuisine centre. Neighbouring historic Arrowtown features excellent restaurants and bars and Queenstown lies close to the centre of a small wine producing region, reputed to be the world's southernmost. Pinot noir produced in this area fetches premium prices.

The Kawarau River is a powerful force, beginning at Lake Wakatipu and flowing 60 kilometres to Cromwell. That's about 40 minutes from Queenstown and is where you can get an adrenaline rush on yet another Kiwi adventure — river boarding.

Mad Dog Ged first went down the Kawarau and Shotover Rivers on a body board in 1985 when he was a rafting guide. Boarding has since become an exciting challenge for anyone who loves water sports. You blast through the Roaring Meg rapids, helped by gravity fed power.

Of course you have a safety talk and it's good if you have reasonable swimming ability. Once the guides are satisfied, you kick into the main current and the excitement begins.

For 45 minutes, continuous action links six rapids. Once they mellow out, there is an optional Jet Ski Rescue Sledge ride if you want more action. There is also a series of rock jumps which range from small to huge, as well as a rope swing.

Once you've had sufficient for one day, relax, enjoy food and drink at the Goldfields cafe and bar or, if your muscles still work, wander around the historic Goldfields Mining Centre.


The south-west of New Zealand's south island.


A half-day Mad Dog River Boarding experience is around $125 per person. Transfers are included.

Air New Zealand has flights to Queenstown.

One-way fare from;

  • Sydney *, $367
  • Melbourne *, $372
  • Brisbane *, $377
  • Adelaide, $491
  • Perth, $606

* applies to direct services only and availability is limited during peak ski season between July to September.

For more information

Mad Dog River Boarding
37 Shotover Street
New Zealand
Ph: 64 3 442 7797
Fax: 64 3 442 7798

Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476

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