Katoa Jet Rotorua

Jet Boat Thrills

Katoa jet boat rides are high-octane fun, no lie. Pre-Covid you could boost the experience with parasailing or tours to Mokoia Island or Manupirua Hot Springs. Hopefully they get to come back.

Handily located at the Rotorua lakefront, Katoa is a super-fun adventure.

Katoa jet boat ready to leave jetty.Ever the drama queen, that would be my daughter Elise with her mouth wide open. And we hadn't even left the wharf yet.

Just for the record, jet boat hair? It's a thing. You know how some people can still manage to look good if their hair is flattened by the wind and sticking up on one side? Not me I'm afraid. Even that mad scientist, Emmett, in the movie Back to the Future, looks better. Sigh. Some people have all the luck.

A Katoa jet boat at anchor. That's Mt Ngongotaha to the right.A Katoa jet boat at anchor. That's Mt Ngongotaha to the right.

Katoa Jet

30 Minute Jet Boat Ride

For thrills - hopefully not spills - this is a wow of a ride. There's nothing like speed, grunty engines and 360° turns with water spraying everywhere to get you laughing and feeling alive.

Be prepared:

  • To look like a lunatic with your lips peeled back in a fixed smile cum grimace. To feeling like a lunatic while you’re doing the smile but you can’t help yourself.
  • Feeling like an idiot because the best way to express your feelings is by a tamped down, 'yehaa'. Really Karen! This is the best you can do?
  • Sensitive teeth? Not your best friend at a time like this. Hurricane force gales rocket into a mouth you can’t close no matter how hard you try. 
  • Whip your face hair - even when it’s tied up. The word flagellation springs to mind here.
Learning about local Rotorua history with Katoa Jet staff.Learning about local history with one of the staff.

Those things aside, as you head out towards Mokoia Island, your driver will look for every which way to get that boat slamming into the water hard enough to rattle the bones in your backside. Then it's onto turns so tight you half-expect to end up as fish food. It might sound terrifying but it sure is a heck of a lot of fun.

Something unexpected were the periodic stops. The driver hat is tossed aside as the tour guide hat goes on.

That’s when you hear about various points of interest, local stories and other snippets of info, all imparted with a good degree of humour.

Although water does spray into the boat, you’re outfitted beforehand with huge plastic coats to stop you getting wet. To finish off that gorgeous ensemble? A lovely fitted orange life jacket. Beautiful!

Apparently, if you're at the back of the boat, you're likely to get showered with a lot more water. (It's true, as I found out on my next ride.)

My daughter Elise getting outfitted for her Lake Rotorua jet boat ride experience.Elise getting outfitted for her jet boat experience.

Kids don’t miss out either. If they can hold on tight they’re good to go. There you go, fun for all the family.

Book ½hr Katoa Jet Boat Tour >>

Find Katoa Jet & Onsite Hours

Address: Mataiawhea St, (off Lakefront Drive)
Phone: +64 7 343 7600
Freephone: 0800 538 7746
Website: www.katoalakerotorua.co.nz
Hours: 9am-5pm daily (except for Christmas Day)


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