Disclaimer: I received a complimentary Huka Falls Jetboat ride thanks to my partnership with Tourism New Zealand. All opinions expressed in this article are my own.
When I agreed to join Dave and Dustin on a half-hour jetboat ride, I genuinely had no idea what this would entail.
I mean, I had never even heard of a jetboat.
… And after being told it was just a reasonably fast boat that casually whizzes past pretty scenery on a calm river it sounded like something I’d probably enjoy. I mean, sure, my ridiculous motion sickness means I vomit every time I move but a boat ride on a river?
How bad could it possibly be?
We arrived at the Huka Falls Jet office and as we walked through the door, my jaw dropped. I was greeted with an enormous screen showing a jetboat racing down a terrifyingly narrow channel at 80km/h. The passengers were being thrown from side to side, the boat was avoiding rocks by mere centimetres.
What on earth had I gotten myself into?
With barely any time to comprehend what the next 30 minutes had in store for me, I soon found myself sitting nervously in the boat, wondering how soon it would be before I threw up over myself.
Our driver went through the safety briefing: “don’t stand up, don’t fall out, hold on tight. When I hold my finger in the air and draw a circle, we’re about to go into a 360 degree turn.”
A THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY DEGREE TURN?!
I think my awkward smile and vice-like grip on Dave’s hand in the photo below says everything about how I was feeling at that moment.
I instantly knew this was not going to be enjoyable.
I’ve never met anyone with motion sickness as bad as mine. I can’t spend more than 5 minutes in the ocean without feeling nauseous, swimming pools make me feel awful and even baths have made me feel terrible in the past.
My petrifying run-in with severe vertigo in Turkey last year left me even more paranoid about my body undergoing unnatural movements. The vertigo was caused by dislodged crystals in my inner ear — and once you have this happen once it’s extremely likely you’ll get it over and over again. I’ve been fortunate not to have had a single reoccurrence over the past 8 months, but I couldn’t help but worry that all of these high-speed turns were going to make my body very unhappy.
And then we started moving.
We accelerated sharply and began bouncing violently across the water, the engine roaring. I nervously glanced up at Dave, silently cursing his courage and lack of nausea upon seeing him grinning widely. I cringed as we raced towards the riverbank, screaming as we suddenly skidded to a stop before accelerating rapidly towards an island in the centre of the river.
I watched as our driver raised his finger in the air and began to slowly move it in a circle. I tightly gripped the bar in front of me, fighting the urge to leap forwards and bite his finger off. Anything not to have to go through this.
Before I could even prepare myself for what was coming, I found myself spinning sharply at a paralysingly fast speed.
As we came out of the turn, the entire jetboat was laughing, cheering and looking like they were having the time of their lives.
I wanted to jump off the side of the boat and swim back to the office.
With Dustin positioned in the row in front of us, he had a perfect view of my overly expressive face and diligently made sure to record every single second of my terror over the next 30 minutes.
It wasn’t pretty.
And then I cried.
I think it’s safe to say that I probably won’t be getting on a jetboat ever again.
I would just like to mention that Dave, Dustin, everyone on the jetboat and what seems like everyone who has ever spoke of Huka Falls Jet online absolutely loved their jetboat experience. If you like fun then you’ll likely love jetboating. If you get travelsick you’ll probably enjoy it too as I wasn’t able to find a single report online of anyone ever feeling sick on a jetboat.
I guess I’m just