Kawarau Jetboating on Lake Rotorua is high-octane fun, no lie. Boost the experience with parasailing or tours to Mokoia Island or Manupirua Hot Springs and there's the whole package right there.
Handily located at the Lakefront, Kawarau Jet aka K-Jet, is a popular Rotorua activity for all ages.
Ever the drama queen, that would be my daughter with her mouth wide open. And we hadn't even left the wharf yet.
Just for the record, Jetboat 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 KJet boat at anchor. That's Mt Ngongotaha to the right.
Kawarau Jet Activities
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.
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 history with Kawarau Jet driver.
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.)
Elise getting outfitted for her Kawarau Jet 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.
If your legs quiver at the thought of jumping out of a plane but
you'd still love to fly like a bird, parasailing is by far the best
alternative. You know you're limited in how high you can go and if anything untoward did manage to
happen (hasn't so far), well then, you'll splashdown in the water.
Fiona of Kawerau Jet, Rotorua. Parasailing boat to the left.
I didn’t get out to experience the parasailing because the wind got up, but, I did do it a number of years ago at Sun City, South Africa. Only difference was… South Africa!
Plus the boat was smaller and we finished by dropping into the water near the lake’s edge. That was fun. Don’t know that I’d like to do that here though. It's far too cold.
Rotorua parasailing boat at anchor.
One word to describe parasailing 400ft up in the air would be ‘gentle’, another way would be to ‘float on’ (remember that song by the Floaters) except that you're floating on air.
Being so high up gives a totally different perspective of Rotorua. See if you can spot some of the numerous volcanic domes and Mt Tarawera in the distance on your 12min parasail.
If you're scared of heights, do it anyway. From all the accounts I've read about parasailing in general, it seems to be one of the few activities where it's not too much of a problem.
Take a friend and ride tandem or go the solo route. Children 10yrs and over can ride too.
This is an activity where weight matters. Minimum weight is 50kg with a maximum of 180kg.
Treat yourself and whip across Lake Rotorua on a Kawarau Jetboat with the accompanying action from above, through the Ohau Channel and into Lake Rotoiti where the Manupirua Hot Springs are located.
Now get ready to melt. Six mineral pools of varying temperatures will have you turning boneless in no time. After that, shock yourself back to life by taking a flying leap into the lake or by using the water slide. Fun huh? For us adults it's like being a kid all over again, and don't we need that now and again? Life gets far too serious at times.
Put aside at least 2½hrs for the return boat ride and time at the hot springs. This tour requires a minimum of 4 passengers so contact the office if you have any difficulty booking. You'll need swimming gear of course and some cash if you want to buy anything at the small cafe. Change rooms and toilet facilities are onsite as well as picnic areas.
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your website is the best resource for planning a trip there that I have
encountered! It answers all of the questions you end up having after
reading other sites, and presents information in such a clear and
concise way. ... wish I'd encountered your site before printing off reams of info that will probably be whittled down to one page. ... hope the local government and tourism people realise what a great asset and ambassador they have in you! :P" Vicky Fairchild - Auckland, New Zealand