2 Adults, 3 boys, 365 Days of Adventure
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Jet Boat
Getting the kids fed before an early morning trip is always an ordeal.  We had to leave the ship at 8 a.m. and after being up late watching a movie in kids club the boys were in no mood to motivate quickly.  Room service (which is free on the ship) arrived at 7:30 and the boys were still groggy from having just been woken up.  They managed to eat a little before being rushed out the door.  Unfortunately, due to very restrictive quarantine laws, we can’t take any food off of the ship so packing snacks is not an option.

Rix from Hassle Free Tours picked us up at 8:15 a.m. from the Lyttleton iSite on this slightly overcast and cold Saturday morning.  After hopping into his jacked-up four-wheel dive mini-van we were on our way to Christchurch for a quick drive through tour on our way up to Springfield to meet our jet boat.  Christchurch is a really lovely city set on the Wiamak river delta (aka completely flat) and has a very quaint downtown area, which surrounds their Cathedral (which the local Kiwi’s are justifiably proud of).

On the River

Jet boating, was one of my most anticipated activities in New Zealand, was definitely all it was cracked up to be.  Our group of 15 donned splash guards (i.e. rain coats) and life jackets and piled into a bright orange and red Hamilton jet boat, which was docked at the rivers edge.  Within minutes we were speeding up the Wiamak river at 35 miles per hour veering around corners and bouncing off the rocks on the river bottom.  The boat can operate (if it is at cruising speed) in water as shallow as 3 inches and we definitely proved that on this trip.  It was an exhilarating, and beautiful, 45-minute ride with plenty of screams from Jennifer and hoots of pleasure from me to prove it.  It was definitely an intense experience for the kids and I think their memory of it will look more favorably upon it than what they actually experienced.


Next up was a two-hour trek through a high-country farm on board a Unimog – a four wheel drive all-terain truck formerly used to transport troops around New Zealand.  This 5-ton beast could go anywhere!  We climbed up 45-degree angle ridges without issue, drove through riverbeds as if they were a paved road and up two and a half foot river banks like they were speed bumps – really a very impressive machine.  The high point of the trek (literally) was when we parked at the top of a hill about 1200 feet above the valley floor and had amazing 360 degree views of foothills of the Alps and out to the Canterbury plains.  I would have liked to stay up there all day.  Although Jennifer was a mid disturbed by the mounds of sheep poo littering the hillside, and making it nearly impossible to step on anything else.
Southen Alps

After the off-roading ended we had a great lunch at a local café with views of the mountains and then headed back to our ship.  It was definitely a long day for the boys and without a snack they were all starving by the time we at lunch at 1:15.  Keeks passed the time by reading The Lord of the Rings on his Kindle (even while off-roading through riverbeds) but managed too look up when things got interesting.   That said I’m sure it was a day they will remember forever and look back on with fondness and longing.  I know I will.


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