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Hukafalls Jet commenced operation in November 1990 as Huka Jet, with one boat and a driver relocating from Shotover Jet in Queenstown to a small wooden shed on the banks of the Waikato River, 700 metres upstream from its current location. In this first year of operation Huka Jet carried around 1,200 passengers.
In 1998, Huka Jet relocated to a site adjacent to the Prawn Farm, now known as Huka Prawn Park. A purpose-built building and new two-berth jetty were built on site and opened in December of that year.
Since then the business has gone from strength to strength and secured its position as one of the leading tourism businesses in the Taupo region and one of the leading jet boat companies in New Zealand’s North Island.
In 1999 Christchurch based Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation invested in the Shotover Jet Group and since then has taken full ownership of the group and has also expanded it with new acquisitions. Ngāi Tahu Tourism now includes Hukafalls Jet, Shotover Jet, Dart River Safaris, the Hollyford Track, Rainbow Springs, Kiwi Encounter, Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Glacier Hot Pools, Agrodome, Hollyford Track and the most recently acquired, NZ Snowshoe.
In December 2006, Huka Jet re-branded as Hukafalls Jet and launched four new state-of-the-art, twin-engine jet boats designed by Shotover Jet and built by 3D Design in Queenstown. The engines are supercharged V6 Buick motors which put out a combined 520hp, with twin Hamilton Jet units thrusting 640 litres of water a second. With a third more power and thrust, this translates directly to enhanced acceleration and speed.
This $1.4million investment in boats and associated facilities is helping Hukafalls Jet to implement future stages of its growth strategy as well as offering an enhanced experience for passengers.
The new Hukafalls Jet boats incorporate the very latest technology and development “know how”, with improved safety features and black box technology for improved maintenance and engine efficiency.
Hukafalls Jet operates four boats, has 17 full-time staff and is visited by around 50,000 people a year. Hukafalls Jet is Qualmark endorsed and won the Peoples Choice Tourism Award for Taupo in 2005.
To date (August 2013) Hukafalls Jet has carried 895,000 people - all very happy customers!