The Dart River journey to Paradise does live up to the hype. This combo tour is a great one to do if you’re based in or near Queenstown. This is because just 50 minutes away, is the beautiful area of Glenorchy. And there is actually a place here called Paradise. The Dart River journey to Paradise is divided into 3 parts – a bus tour, short bush walk and a thrilling jet boat ride.  This really is a great way to see the real Lord of the Rings country.

Dart River journey to Paradise

Dart River journey to Paradise – Scenery

There’s so much drama in the scenery – its awesome in every sense of the word. It’s easy to understand why film crews come here to take their award winning films.  The film Narnia was shot here and in fact one of New Zealand’s famous daughters’, Jane Campion, will be commence her new film next week.

Dart River journey to Paradise

Dart River journey to Paradise – interesting history

Having a great driver guide really enhances the whole experience. Its a real gift to be able to tell an entertaining story. And this area is full of interesting history. One of the first stops is at Arcadia Homestead and what a sad story this is ! The homestead was built by a idealistic young Englishman who left his Fiancee in the care of his father back in England.  He was overwhelmed by the beauty of the area, built the beautiful Arcadia Homestead then requested that his Fiancee join in New Zealand.  The father replied by return mail saying that he had married the son’s Fiancee who was effectively now his son’s stepmother!

Dart River journey to Paradise -Bush Walk

The second part of this journey involves a short bush walk to the Dart River Safari jet boat.  Now a word of caution here – you won’t find toilets facilities on every corner.  The next best thing is to discreetly disappear behind a bush.  Most people are okay with this and people are usually pretty respectful towards others in the groups.

The bush walk is very interesting and you might think its over too soon. Our guide was extremely funny, but told interesting stories along the way.

Dart River journey to Paradise – Jet Boat Ride

The bush walk takes you to the small wharf to the next part of the tour which is the jet boat ride.  You’ll get fleecy-lined waterproof coats with zips and velcro to keep you warm.  Once aboard, the the gravel from the shallow water needs to be ejected before full acceleration can be achieved.  This requires passenger participation.  You all stand and lean forward in a half bow – there’s lots of laughter at this stage.

Dart River journey to Paradise

The Hamilton Jet engine ejects the stones and then you hang on to your hats folks – the adrenaline rush is about to begin.  The boat travels up and down the dart river and with strategic stops in interesting places.  You’ll find this part of the journey to be a total ‘ buzz’. The heated rails is a nice touch to keep your hands toasty warm.

These are are some of the up front and personal views from the boat:

This tour is further enhanced by perfect weather and boy, we were very lucky on this one. After disembarking at the Glenorchy Wharf, a bus drives all the passengers back to the depot which is only 5 minutes away.  The Dart River journey to Paradise is great value for money and is packed with variety – its a great half-day tour.

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