If you travel through New Zealand, it’s hard to avoid the Lord of the Rings. Even if you’re not a fan of the movies, the sights featured in the film are well worth visiting for their incredible beauty if nothing else. One such adventure is by jet boat along Lake Wanaka and the Matukituki River into the Misty Mountains. Jet boats are unique in that they don’t use a propeller; instead they skim across the most shallow of waterways by a jet of water ejected from the boat. Because of the path of the river and the varying depths, the guide had to skim the boat around turns and angle the boat in every direction imaginable, even backwards, to get across without beaching. It was an exciting adrenalin rush as we raced along the waters, turning 360 degrees every now and then and scaring the crap out of some waterfowl. On either side of the river were soaring peaks and glacial waterfalls, all creating a spectacularly serene and mystical experience. I instantly understood why Peter Jackson used this area in his Lord of Rings movies. Even though it was cold and the fog hung heavy in the air, it was a rare pleasure to be all alone in the middle of nowhere surrounded by massive stone giants encircled by a ring of mist.