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Combine a 2-hour jet boat ride on the Dart River with a 3-hour Mt Aspiring National Park hike to Lake Sylvan on this day trip from Queenstown. You’ll zip along the waterway before a leisurely tromp through a native beech forest with a knowledgeable guide. Soak up the remarkable scenery, plants and birdlife in the UNESCO-listed landscape, which includes a portion of the Routeburn Track. Enjoy lunch by the lake on this small-group tour, limited to 10 people to ensure more personalized attention.


  • Full-day nature tour from Queenstown
  • Explore the Dart River on a 2-hour jet boat ride
  • Hike through native beech forest to Lake Sylvan
  • Look for birds such as robins, fantails and paradise shelducks
  • Bask in the South Island’s natural beauty, including Mt Aspiring National Park
  • Small-group tour limited to 10 ensures a personalized experience

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

This local tour operator is the only company permitted to go 'off track’ in this forest, giving you an exclusive opportunity to walk in secluded areas of this beautiful wilderness.

What You Can Expect

Ultimate Nature Experience from Queenstown: Dart River Jet Boat Ride and Lake Sylvan Hike

Take a jet boat ride along the Dart River.

On this day small-group day trip from Queenstown, embark a jet-boat adventure followed by an easy to moderate guided hike with your knowledgeable guide. After hotel pickup by minivan in the morning, you're driven to the jet-boat dock for the day’s first activity. Begin with a safety briefing, then strap on your life jacket and hold on for a wild 2-hour ride across the shallow glacial waters of the Dart River.

Your captain expertly navigates this Southern Alps waterway while sharing its geological history as you zoom 22 miles (35 km) upriver, stopping at lookout points for a closer glimpse of natural features.

Disembark the boat at a secret locale on the banks of the Dart River, and follow your guide on a walk through native beech forest toward a picnic spot on the shores of Lake Sylvan, situated within UNESCO-listed Mt Aspiring National Park.

Your guide points out significant flora and fauna including New Zealand birdlife such as bush robins, fantails and tomtits as well as the paradise shelducks — a prized game bird with striking plumage — that inhabit the picturesque lake.

After lunch, you’ll continue along a trail that connects to the Routeburn Track, one of the New Zealand Great Walks of the South Island. In total, your 2- to 3-hour route covers up to 4 miles (7 km) of mostly flat terrain.

Afterward, head back to Queenstown by minivan, stopping at a cafe in Glenorchy for a food break (own expense) before hotel drop-off in the early evening.

Please note: A minimum of two people per booking is required.

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