On their recent trip to New Zealand earlier this month, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made quite a splash as they took to Queenstown’s Shotover River Canyons with award-winning tourism operator, Shotover Jet.
The South Island resort town, known as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of adventure tourism, lived up to its name when the Royal couple sped through the dramatic and narrow canyons on a ‘Big Red’ jet boat – skilfully manoeuvred within centimetres of sheer rock faces thanks to Shotover Jet operations manager, Wayne Paton, who was handpicked to drive Wills and Kate through the fast-flowing water.
Despite extensive industry knowledge and 13 years’ experience jet boating, Mr Paton admitted to having “a few butterflies” on the day but described the experience as a career highlight.
“I’ve done more than 10,000 trips and I’m in charge of all driver training and assessments, so 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 adrenalin experience and we treated them just like that.”
Mr Paton said he talked to the Duke and Duchess and others on the boat about how jet boating was invented by a New Zealander, recalled the river’s gold history, and pointed out landmarks such as Coronet Peak along the way.
“The Duke was right into the trip. He even asked me a couple of times to go closer to the canyon walls.
“There were some nerves but I feel safer driving the boat than I do driving my car home, because it’s what we do as a job.”
“They had a blast, so that’s my job well done,” Mr Paton said.
For more information visit: www.shotoverjet.com