Queenstown Activity Review: Time Tripper

If you’re looking for a fun, informative way to rest the legs after your Queenstown Trail hike or bike head down to the main pier in Queenstown Bay.

Underneath the pier you’ll find a secret little underwater observatory that recently underwent a big change. Meet Time Tripper, brought to you by KJet.

As the kids and I head down underneath the pier, and into the shadowy depths of the Lake Wakatipu, I felt nervous. I was nervous because I’d heard that the long standing, rainy day activity known as the Underwater Observatory, where you could sneak a peek at the long finned eel, and the giant trout and salmon was gone! I’d heard rumours it was going and admittedly I was a little upset, with memories of visiting when I first arrived as a tourist 10 years ago, dial forward 10 later years we loved taking the kids to feed the fish. 

Then I’d heard (people talk a lot in Queenstown) that Dunedin company Animation Research had been charged with creating a 3D visual experience, at that moment I knew this evolution was going to be something pretty special.

As we entered the cinema, there was a big wow moment, of course the eels and the giant trout and salmon were still there for all to see. Our friendly host told us to enjoy the fishy view, the show would start in 10 minutes. So we did. The boys squished their little faces as hard up to the glass as they could get, mesmerised by these current day giants of the Wakatapu. Not a patch on Matau though.

Matau, who’s Matau? Matau, according to Māori folklore is the giant of the Lake Wakatipu, it’s a local story we read to our kids. As the Time Tripper show starts and three huge screens come to life, you feel the vibrations from this sensory experience and the story of Matau, Manata and Matakauri is told. Time Tripper is in fact the only place in Queenstown that shares this wonderful story of our living breathing Lake visually and it’s really pleasing to see Queenstown’s Māori culture woven into this activity. 

Next up we jump to a time before humans, 90 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. We see how Queenstown could have looked before the pines and the people. We get to experience the land before time in just 30 minutes. Our seats buzzed and the prehistoric beasts almost jump out of the screens, we were all gripped.

The production is really excellent, a big well done to Animation Research and to KJet for having the foresight to evolve the underwater observatory into an interesting and great value activity, a must squeeze into your busy Queenstown schedule. And the best bit is, you still get to meet our current day lake giants – the eel, salmon and trout and boy there are some biggies. 



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