About Us

Etablished in 1968 … legends!

Wilkin River Jets and Backcountry Helicopters offer wilderness adventure and discovery within the beautiful Makarora region of New Zealand.

Known as the ‘timeless land’, Makarora is a truly special place with stunning snow capped mountains, ancient river valleys, pristine native rainforest and fast flowing wilderness rivers. A place where time has truly stood still, but discovery and adventure continue to beckon.

Situated within the famed World Heritage listed Mount Aspiring National Park, the wilderness region of Makarora lies between Lake Wanaka and the Haast Pass. The region has a rich history, and was known to Maori as Kaika Paekai (the place of abundant food). Today’s visitors can easily appreciate why the Makarora valley provided such a special resting place for Maori, whilst travelling to the west coast in their quest for highly valued pounamu or greenstone.

Operating since 1968, Wilkin River Jets are pioneers of shallow water jet boating and wilderness discovery in New Zealand.

Wilkin River Jets and Backcountry Helicopters owners, Harvey and Patsy Hutton, have a long family history starting with the region’s early settlers, and their connection to this ‘timeless land’ is reflected in their commitment to deliver a world-class eco-tourism product within this truly awe-inspiring landscape. Their expert local knowledge and passion for the New Zealand backcountry ensure visitors enjoy a wilderness experience like no other.

Our helicopter and jetboat base is situated at Makarora on the Haast Pass Highway (SH 6), between Lake Wanaka and Fox Glacier. This is where our trips depart from.

We pride ourselves on our extensive local knowledge and can do attitude and specialize in tailor making Scenic Helicopter Flight/Mt Aspiring National Park Bush Walk/Jetboat – combos.

“gotta do it”…….. See you soon!



“Hi – had to send an email to express what a terrific time we had on our trip, we are all still buzzing, the helicopter flight, the walk and the jet boat ride was such a brilliant combination to experience your part of the world which is positively stunning! Thanks for your help organising etc, you made it very easy to put together a wicked family trip that im sure the kids will chat about for a very long time, actually everyone is keen to go again and stay an extra night!” RR


Book Now Gallery