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Dart River Funyaks

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand. It is a four-season resort offering many experiences. In winter it becomes an alpine playground and host to the annual Winter Festival.

Just 45 minutes from Queenstown, along a wonderfully scenic route — and aren't they all in New Zealand — is Glenorchy. The small, rustic village at the head of Lake Wakatipu is in the heart of the Westland World Heritage National Park. It is the gateway to the Routeburn, Greenstone, Caples, Rees and Dart Valley walking tracks. They call it the gateway to Paradise.

It is also home to Dart River Safaris, where you can experience yet another adrenaline-pumping New Zealand experience, beginning from the moment you are collected in Queenstown.

You travel by jetboat to the upper part of the Dart River and set your own pace to paddle back in a funyak. Lots of excitement on the way up and a gentle return which gives you the opportunity to explore many of the safe and intriguing chasms and byrnes. The hardest thing to decide is where to pull in to enjoy your lunch.

Your journey takes you deep into pristine wilderness, up an aquamarine braided glacial river, all beneath towering, snow-capped peaks surrounded by beech forests.

Jetboats are fitted with aerodynamic windscreens for added comfort and water-windproof jackets are provided. Winter timetables are designed to take advantage of the warmth of the day.

The jetboat trip highlights the navigational demands of classic jetboating as it weaves through a labyrinth of fast flowing river channels just centimetres deep, darting up the rushing waters of shingle river terraces and gliding into tranquil deep rock-faced chasms.

You stop at an area known as Paradise where you can view the mystical landscape of Middle Earth from Peter Jackson's film Lord of the Rings. Stops at Rockburn Chasm and the Beansburn offer optional 20-minute bushwalks.

You should take along your camera and lots of film, sunglasses, warm clothing, gloves, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes and plenty of insect repellent.


Glenorchy in New Zealand.


Dart River Funyak Safaris start at $231 per person from Glenorchy. They are suitable for all ages.

Flight Centre has return economy flights to Queenstown with Air New Zealand. Valid for sale and travel until June 30, 2006, fares are:
  • Sydney $635
  • Melbourne $665
  • Brisbane $669
  • Adelaide $944
  • Perth $1004

    To book, call Flight Centre on 131 600.

    Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

    More information

    Dart River Safaris
    Mull Street
    Glenorchy 9197
    New Zealand
    Ph: 64 3 442 9992
    Fax: 64 3 442 9075
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