Dart River Adventures reopening in time for summer

Ngāi Tahu Tourism business Dart River Adventures, near Queenstown, is set to reopen from 3 December.

The Dart River Wilderness Jet and Funyaks (inflatable kayaks) will be back on offer from summer 2020-21 with adjusted pricing and operating hours to accommodate the domestic market.

The venture can reopen thanks to funding from the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP). The business has been paused since the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

Ngāi Tahu Holdings Chief Executive Mike Pohio says that a key outcome from receiving the funding is being able to help support small towns such as Glenorchy, where Dart River Adventures is based.

“The re-opening of Dart River Adventures is a great milestone not only for Ngāi Tahu Tourism, but for Glenorchy and the greater Queenstown community,” he says.

“The towns and regions in which we operate our tourism businesses are deeply important to us. We are thrilled to return to these communities and renew and re-affirm our commitment to the areas and the tourism industry.”

Dart River Adventures gives manuhiri (visitors) a chance to immerse themselves in authentic experiences in the internationally renowned Mt Aspiring National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Area. Manuhiri can choose from a half-day jet boating trip and a full-day combination jet boat and Funyak trip.

“We are excited to be welcoming manuhiri back to Dart River to showcase the amazing experiences New Zealanders can have in their own backyard,” Pohio says.

Dart River Adventures will re-open from December to 30 April from Thursdays to Mondays (inclusive).

The Wilderness Jet half-day trip, including return bus transport from Queenstown, is $209 per adult and $138 per child. The full-day Funyak and jet boat trip is $299 per adult and $229 per child. All rates are a 25% discount on standard rates.

Bookings will be available on the Dart River Adventures’ website from 14 September.

Other Ngāi Tahu Tourism businesses that received STAPP funding are the National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua, Franz Josef Hot Pools, Franz Josef Glacier Guides, and Dark Sky Project in Takapō. More information about the reopening of the National Kiwi Hatchery and Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools, and the expansions of Franz Josef Glacier Guides and Dark Sky Project operations, will be known in the coming weeks.

The STAPP funding to Dart River Adventures will be provided over 12 months.

The reopening of Dart River Adventures will bring the total number of open Ngāi Tahu Tourism businesses to six: Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters in Queenstown, Hukafalls Jet, Shotover Jet in Queenstown, Dark Sky Project, and Franz Josef Glacier heli hikes (with Franz Josef Glacier Guides providing guiding services to The Helicopter Line). Hollyford Track reopens on 1 January 2021.