About Us Rapids Jet locally Owned

The Jet Boat is a New Zealand icon, and jet boating is a favourite activity for Kiwis. Experience jet boating on the best white water rapids in New Zealand with Rapids Jet.

Kiwi owners/drivers, Russell Poppe (Rusty), James Tazewell (Jimmy) and Garry Stephen (Gazza) have thousands of hours experience driving jet boats both in New Zealand and overseas. Since 1993 over 200,000 passengers have safely experienced the thrill of real white water jet boating. You can be sure that you are in the safe and skilled hands necessary to navigate this spectacular part of the Waikato River. Rapids Jet’s safe operational plan is unique, including a riverside Safety Officer/photographer with every trip – We own it – We drive it, We care!

Rapids Jet jet boats ride the biggest rapids for commercial jet boating in New Zealand, and makes it look easy. Shoot through the narrowest canyon on the Waikato River, be exhilarated by the spins on crystal clear waters, spot a trout and surf and play in the pressure waves of the awesome Nga Awa Purua Rapids.

Conveniently located just 15 minutes drive north of Taupo and 50 minutes drive south of Rotorua, just off State Highway 5, the Rapids Jet ride takes place in the geothermal wonderland of the Waikato River, home to many species of native birdlife, thermal pools and native bush. Take in a slice of New Zealand history viewing the Aratiatia Rapids up close from the boat, which were of great significance to early Maori settlers. The Aratiatia Rapids release water at an incredible 90,000 litres per second, which provides a unique and unmissable demonstration of nature’s raw power and incredible beauty.

An adrenaline rush is guaranteed! Experience the thrill of jet boating with your Kiwi guides Rusty, Gazza and Jimmy, Rapids Jet is New Zealand’s best jet boat ride.
We look forward to sharing the joy of real jet boating with you.

Rusty, Gazza and Jimmy

Our History


Our Boats


Our Team


River Features

Huka Falls

Aratiatia Dam & Rapids

Creating fantastic memories

I cannot speak highly enough of this attraction. All the staff from front of counter to the brilliant Dave (dry humour personified) skipper of the machine, went above and beyond to give us an exceptional experience on the water. Whatever you do, this has to be on the must do list!

Elleah – TripAdvisor - Apr 18th, 2018

Simply Awesome, highly recommended

Having been on a few jet boat experiences, this was one of the best. The team is professional, offering simple booking, plenty of information and guidance, with no nonsense gearing up and getting on to the rapids.

The equipment is clean, good quality and the boat is comfortable, clean and sounds terrific. Shannon is a superb driver with great knowledge of the environment and the skills to match the ferocity of the river.

The trip is exhilarating, thanks to numerous spins and huge jumps in the rapids. Accompanied with interesting information about the river and the history of its use, delivered in Shannon’s witty way.

A highly recommended experience for everyone.

Ian – Trip Advisor - Apr 29th, 2018

Rapids Jet is fantastic, you are in a v12 8L jetboat that goes up and down rapids in the waikato river at 80kmh including some high speed spins.It is reasonable price and there is no mucking around - very quick from the check-in to leaving on the boat.

Nick Hofmann – Google Review - Apr 26th, 2018