Jet Boating the Huon River – The Huon Valley at speed
I suspect that visitors to this site may find what I am about to describe abhorrent.
I admit it, I had a jet boat ride on the Huon River and I liked it.
Since I’ve lived here I’ve driven past the Huon Jet pier on many occasions and seen many other people going for a ride. It was on my “we should do this one day” list. I elevated the priority by purchasing my wife Susan some tickets for her birthday this year.
I had to go with her right?
I’ve not been on the river much. I am not particularly “boatie” or a swimmer (especially not when there is even a hint of the water being cold). I’d not even ventured under the Huonville Bridge and further inland on the river. I’d driven along the river and seen various points of it from bush walks and other towns. I was looking forward to a new perspective on it.
We arrived for our appointed ride a little early so we decided to have a snack at the Huon Jet’s cafe on the pier. That may not have been a good idea. The coffee and homemade scones were good but clearly I hadn’t thought this through. In fact, I only realised my mistake while writing this article now.
The ride takes about 35 minutes. We put on our lifejackets and joined the rest of the folk doing our run on the boat. The boat fires up and immediately the rumble of the 5.7 litre Chevy V8 makes its presence felt. “Holy crap, this might be quick!”
As the boat leaves the pier and heads under the bridge we get a briefing “We’ll do some spins.” The driver explains. “I’ll let you know…hang on with both hands.”
As we clear the bridge the boat accelerates to about 80 kilometres per hour. It feels fast. We are up on a plane and skimming over the water using less than 10cm of it depth-wise.
The river is wide, tea coloured, glassy and very calm today. Not much can be seen below the surface and as we approach the first set of rapids, without any deceleration, this seems like a distinct problem.
The boat turns on a dime and we clear the rapids easily. The river gets noticeably narrower and more hazards appear. Trees, logs, rocks, rapids…bloody hell this guy can steer the thing. Every now and then we get the “spin” signal and we hang on, “woo hoo!” Great fun.
After about 14kms we reach the point where we turn around to head home. Titbits of information are offered throughout the trip. The obstacles don’t look any easier to navigate on the way back but we miss them all and have a blast. Susan grins the whole way like a Cheshire Cat.
As we pull into the pier I’m thinking “Hmm, I kind of fancy having a jet boat…”. I didn’t tell Susan.
THE VERDICT: great fun, much better than I had imagined. Definitely worth doing for visitors and locals alike.
NOTE: No scones or kayakers were harmed in the writing of this article.
For more information check out Huon Jets website (if you are brave enough!)
David Moore lives and works in the Huon Valley. He runs a computer business, I Hate My PC and writes computer/tech stuff for a couple of online magazines but his real passion is comedy. Keep an eye out for him doing “stand up” somewhere near you soon!
Image: kadj via Flickr