July 15, 2020

What exactly is Time Tripper? And can you still see the fish?

Dinosaurs in Queenstown, and what’s this giant Mosasaur everyone is talking about? You’ve heard about Queenstown’s new underwater experience Time Tripper, but what exactly is it, and can you still see the fish under the Main Town Pier?

The Queenstown Underwater Observatory has had a major lift! KJet has owned and operated this space since 1998, and while it was a favourite activity for visiting families and locals, the space was renovated into something truly out of this world with Time Tripper opening in December 2019.

Time Tripper is Queenstown’s only underwater experience. When you head down under the lake with us (sessions are quarter past and quarter to the hour, every 30 minutes) you’ll descend two flights of stairs into our black light theatre. The famous fish, diving ducks and slinky eels are viewable, but there’ll be a lot more after the show (when they get fed!). We get a lot of questions about whether or not they’re in a cage, we can assure you that you’re looking straight out into Lake Wakatipu and you’re in fact the one in the cage.

Once everyone is seated, a large screen descends covering the viewing windows and your time travel pilot (a recognizable kiwi actor) will introduce himself. As you wait for the next time jump window to open, you’ll get to see the beautiful love story and Māori Legend of Lake Wakatipu.

Once the legend fades from the screen, the time travel Jet roars into life and you take off from the Main Town Pier, high above the Queenstown of today. Suddenly you’ll take a jump back in time (just a small one to test all systems are working) then comes the big one…. 90 million years.

We’re still in Queenstown, slightly warmer and more tropical and part of a huge land mass Gondwanaland. As we descend under the water you’ll meet Murray (you’ll have to see the show to discover what sort of pre-historic sea life he is) and many more underwater creatures that lived and died in these waters.

But where are the dinosaurs, we keep hearing about? At around 65 million years ago your time travel pilot passes through the Cretaceous period, pauses for the famous meteor (the Chicxulub impactor) which created a crater that was almost 200km wide and continues to guide you towards present day.

Stopping off at 15 million years ago, the Jet hovers above New Zealand forming and the Southern Alps slowly making their way to the surface. Hold on for a first hand view of the rock walls grinding followed by the formation of Lake Wakatipu from inside the giant glacier that carved it out 15,000 years ago.

A quick pause at 750 years ago (keep an eye out for the Tuatara) your pilot then waits for clearance to land and docks back at the Main Town Pier.

The screens will rise up to reveal the long-fin eels, the rainbow and brown trout and the diving ducks all in abundance, with 15 minutes of underwater viewing after the show.

  • Time Tripper underwater theatre Maori Legend of Lake Wakatipu
  • Murray the Mosasaur in the Time Tripper Queenstown underwater observatory and cinema experience
  • Time Tripper Queenstown underwater observatory with New Zealand history 15 million years ago
  • Queenstown's Time Tripper Underwater Observatory with kids and family looking at the fish
  • Time Tripper Queenstown underwater observatory with New Zealand history Moa and Kea and Tuatara 750 years ago