Packrafting adds jet-boat

Clients on one of the Expedition X packrafting tours get ready to explore the Kawarau River.  The Queenstown-based company, the first of its kind in New Zealand, has joined forces with Goldfields Jet for summer tours, providing some extra excitement to the end of the trips. Photo supplied.
Clients on one of the Expedition X packrafting tours get ready to explore the Kawarau River. The Queenstown-based company, the first of its kind in New Zealand, has joined forces with Goldfields Jet for summer tours, providing some extra excitement to the end of the trips. Photo supplied.

New Zealand's first ''packrafting'' tour company, Expedition X, has joined forces with Goldfields Jet to create an exciting end to summer tours.

Expedition X director and head guide Arno Marten said he was ''thrilled'' to have the jet-boat ride adding ''a little bit of extra excitement to the end of the trip down the river''.

The winter trips began in March, combining water and land-based adventures using a packraft - a light, inflatable wilderness boat carried into remote or ''hard to get to'' areas in a backpack, giving clients the freedom to explore.

During the trip, customers are also taught about river features, water safety and how to use the packraft while exploring their surroundings.''

With a packraft each, clients can control their own adventure level - if they just want a leisurely float down the river or want to explore the sides and play in small rapids,'' Mr Marten said.''

The packrafts only weigh 2.5kg so you don't need to be an extreme adventurer to participate,'' he said.

Trips begin near Cromwell, with hiking in the Goldfields area, before rafting on the Kawarau River.

Transport to and from Queenstown, along with lunch, full training and equipment is provided.

Mr Marten said safety was of ''paramount'' importance to the company and its health and safety programme and tours drew on experience.

He was a river boarding assessor and guide, an adventure athlete, a swift water rescue trainer and assessor, a dive instructor, a paraglide tandem pilot and instructor, as well as an outdoor leader.