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.
This tour was complimentary in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are as always my own.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Sun hat
- Warm outer layer
- Warm underwear or swimwear
- Change of underwear
- Insect repellant
- Camera carried at own risk
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.
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?
Thank you Dart River Adventures and Ngāi Tahu Tourism for having me.