The royal couple 'had a blast' on the Shotover Jet ride,
operations manager Wayne Paton said. Photo Getty
Maybe it was the wine from moments earlier.
Whatever it was, the Duke of Cambridge had no fear as he and
his wife, Catherine, were taken for a wild jet-boat ride down
Queenstown's Shotover River gorges yesterday.
The pair were taken on the jet-boat ride immediately after
quaffing some of Central Otago's finest wine at Amisfield.
Shotover Jet operations manager Wayne Paton, who had the
honour of driving the Royals on the 25-minute trip dubbed the
world's most exciting jet-boat ride, said afterwards: ''The
duke was right into the trip. He even asked me a couple of
times to go closer to the canyon walls.
''They had a blast, so that's my job well done.''
The boats can hit speeds of 85kmh in just 10cm of water while
skirting perilously close to the gorge rock walls.
Mr Paton - a 13-year veteran of the firm - admitted he had
butterflies before the trip.
''... while these are obviously the most high-profile people
we've ever had on board, at the end of the day they're
customers looking for an amazing adrenaline experience and we
treated them just like that.''
The Duchess of Cambridge receives a bouquet of flowers from
Maggie Langford after the jet-boat ride. Photo by Reuters
The 43-year-old talked to the duke and duchess, and other
dignitaries on the boat, about how jet-boating was invented by
a New Zealander, the river's gold history and pointed out
landmarks such as Coronet Peak along the way.
The Royals joined the more than three million passengers who
have taken the boat trip since operations began in 1970.
Smiling broadly and somewhat damp, thanks to spray from a
series of Shotover Jet's signature 360-degree spins, the
couple chatted and laughed throughout.
David Kennedy, southern region manager for Shotover Jet owner
Ngai Tahu Tourism, added: ''The duke and duchess had
specifically asked to have a trip that was the same as any we
offer on a day-to-day basis.
''They enjoyed a perfect Central Otago autumn day for it,
with blue skies, sunshine, trees tinged with seasonal oranges
and golds and snow-capped mountains in the distance.
''Just like any young couple, they had plenty of questions
about how the jet-boats work, the scenery and gold-mining
history of this area and the river.
''And just like everyone else, they hung on tight to the
heated handrails in front of them when the driver warned them
as he was about to go into each spin.''
Fifteen Arrowtown Primary School children chatted to the
Royals after their boat trip. The duke and duchess asked who
was having a birthday when, what they were going to do for
Easter and if they had experienced a jet-boat ride before.
Nine-year-old Jessica MacDonald said she thought Kate ''was
dressed beautifully'', while one of the teachers, Janey
Winders, said Prince William apologised for not getting to
the school eight years ago, due to the weather.
The Royal couple were given books written by the late
Arrowtown author Alma Stevenson.