The winning ticket or, flying on water

For weeks I’ve been trying, and for weeks I’ve been failing. Every 10 days Shotover Jet puts two one dollar tickets on bookme.co.nz. A jetboat ride is priced $129 and is way out of my budget for my stay here. However, since I saw this $1 ticket I’ve put my mind to obtaining one. After more than two months in Queenstown, I’m the lucky winner!

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So today I went on my little adventure. Every day the bus to work crosses the Shotover river and sometimes I see some jetboats racing over the water. The canyon, carved by the water from glaciers, is stunning to look at and I couldn’t wait to see it from up close. The river is rich with gold and now also with tourists. It all began in 1970 with one of the first jetboats. It was a kiwi who invented the jet unit, the boat uses the same unit that is used in jetskis by the way. It all looks a bit more flash now and the adventure can be seen in full colour video.

Shotover jet is based right underneath the beautiful Edith Cavell bridge. First you’re dressed in a huge rain jacket and a life vest. Imagine this on top om my big jumper and ski jacket and you understand that jetboating isn’t the most elegant activity. Then it’s time for a photo before we board. Once seated we get some safety instructions and we’re off. Well… we do a little test circle and wave for the photographers. Once the formalities are done we race down into the canyon. Since no cameras are allowed on the boat, I added a collection of photos made by the Shotover jet company.

The ride was like being in a very scenic rollercoaster. I kept expecting to feel that special underbelly feeling, but that wouldn’t come. I did get a smile plastered on my face that wouldn’t leave and turned all dry from the huge amounts of wind that came my way. It’s amazing how this boat manoeuvres down the water. The driver was turning the steering wheel left and right constantly and to give us the ultimate thrill he went as close to the rock walls and obstacles in the water as he could get. Throw in a few 360s and the picture is complete. I had to hold on tight, because at times I felt my bottom lifting from the seat. A big splash of water came over us as the driver did another trick.

I must say that I am glad I got the lucky ticket. Sure it was fun and amazing and I loved seeing the canyon up close. The only way to explore this 7km long part of it is by jetboat, as no other boats are allowed for safety reasons. It is Queenstown though, and as with everything else, they find clever ways to make you spend money. No cameras, except for headmounted ones, are allowed, so if you want proof of your adventure, you have to buy a photo pack. Prices for three photos start at $39. If you want the video you pay another $20, and so things keep adding up. Since I hadn’t spend a lot on the ticket I allowed myself to buy the photos as a souvenir.

I had a great 25 minutes on the water. I loved the feeling of wind going through your hair, wondering if your hat will stay on your head. I saw another beautiful piece of Queenstown and I’m glad I got to experience this.

So how do I get this $1 ticket?
Bookme is a great site for getting some discounts on popular activities. The discounts are usually not this heavy though. It is no surprise that there are only a few dollar tickets available per month. I started looking on bookme to find out the pattern they use. It appears that the one dollar tickets come on the website on the 1st, 11th and 21st of each month. So every time I looked online, but I always missed out. The timing of the promotion is different every week. Sometimes it becomes available in the afternoon and sometimes not until the next morning. It really is a matter of checking regularly on those dates and filling out your details as fast as you can. If you want to book for you and a friend, you need to have their full name ready.

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