Incredible Must-Do Tour from Queenstown, New Zealand

I recently did one of the most incredible tours from Queenstown with Dart River Adventures. Based in Glenorchy, I went on their Funyak tour (inflatable kayaks/canoes) which was so much fun and incredibly scenic, floating down Dart River in literal Lord of the Rings locations.

Read on to find out all about this unmissable experience and why you should totally do it too when you're next in Queenstown - the adventure capital of New Zealand.

This tour was complimentary in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are as always my own.

Funyak Adventure

The day began bright and early with a pick-up time of 7:45 am at the central Queenstown Information Centre. Alternatively, if staying closer to Glenorchy, you can meet them there yourself at 8:30 am.

In a large comfortable bus, the 45-minute ride went very quickly with beautiful scenery all the way there. We checked into the Dart River Adventures building and were given all the information we needed and a run-down of the clothing and gear we were about to suit up in.

For the Funyak tour, they provide fleece tops for warmth, a wetsuit, booties, spray jackets, life jackets and dry bags for your belongings. Being winter, we were also given warm beanies if needed and a snood/mouth scarf.

There were male and female changing rooms for us to get ready in with lockers for anything we wished to leave behind, before one more short bus ride to the first part of our adventure.

We hopped into a speedboat for an exhilarating 40-minute ride up the Dart River, with fun twists and 360 turns similar to the famous Shotover Jet. 

It was a very crisp morning but the weather was absolutely perfect - you couldn't have asked for a better day and the gear provided did a great job at keeping you warm.

We travelled at high-speed up the Dart River deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mount Aspiring National Park. The surroundings were picture-perfect and we had several stops to take photos and soak it all in.

Once we arrived at our stunning Funyak location we were given a cup of hot chocolate which was very welcome. We met our lovely guides for the day Ed and Amber who told us everything we needed to know about how to use our inflatable kayaks.

We split into twos or threes and because I was flying solo I got to ride with the professional Ed - lucky me!

We gently floated down the Dart River the way we came, using our oars to easily control our Funyaks. The colour of the pristine water was such a beautiful blue, and apparently, winter is the best time to see it like that.

After our exciting beginning, this part was incredibly tranquil and relaxing, with the most magnificent New Zealand scenery around us.

Next, we reached our delightful lunch location which had been set up wonderfully by Gareth. We had a full buffet spread with fresh bread, salads, meats, cheeses, fruit, sweet slices, hot soup and a choice of hot and cold drinks.

Everything was super tasty and it was a very enjoyable lunch break in the wilderness.

An absolute highlight of the day, we then explored up a nearby side stream through dramatic chasms and rock pools with eye-poppingly green water.

I had never seen anything like it before - it was such an amazing experience!

Back on the Dart River, we drifted some more on to our end location where we were picked up by a four-wheel drive bus to take us back to Glenorchy.

During the 30-minute ride, we were told about the famous movies filmed in these very locations such as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Wolverine and many more.

At the Dart River Adventures building, we changed back into our clothes and had the option of buying some professional photos taken throughout the day.

Then it was a quick ride back to Queenstown on the bus after an excellent day amongst some of the most incredible nature I've ever laid my eyes on.


The tour: Dart River Adventure Funyaks

Price: $369 NZD per adult, $269 per child (seasonal)

Reviews: 4.5/5 stars and a Certificate of Excellence from 2,043 reviews on Trip Advisor

What to bring: 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Sun hat 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Warm outer layer 
  • Warm underwear or swimwear 
  • Change of underwear 
  • Towel 
  • Insect repellant 
  • Camera carried at own risk

Final Thoughts

I had such a fantastic time on this tour, even though I come from New Zealand - the truly stunning locations absolutely blew me away! From the fun speedboat ride to the gentle Funyaks, a delicious lunch and picturesque scenery, this tour is an absolute must-do for all visitors and locals alike.

Our guides were super friendly, professional and safety conscious as needed. The whole day ran super smoothly and every single person on our tour highly enjoyed it. 

A great activity year-round, I would recommend doing it especially in winter as I did, as the water was such an amazing colour and it gets a whole lot busier in the peak summer months.

This Funyak tour would suit any type of traveller from families (not younger than 5 years old, however), to couples, friends and solo travellers like me.

It's a great adventure and one of those memorable days that is an absolute travel highlight.

If you would like to see a bit more I made a short video of my Funyak experience for YouTube:

Is Funyaking along the Dart River now on your Bucket List?

Happy Travels,

Thank you Dart River Adventures and Ngāi Tahu Tourism for having me.

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Travelling is a beautiful thing.

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Travel is good for your Body

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Happy Travels,

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