Goldfields Jet | Striking gold year-round for seasonal tourism busines

Since 1991, Goldfields Jet has given hundreds of thousands of thrill seekers the ride of their lives on Central Otago’s Kawarau River, Staircase Rapids and Kawarau Gorge. Cam Jones had been working as a jetboat driver for the company since 2011, but in mid-2018, bought the business.
“I progressed into the role of Operations Manager and last year, was given the option to buy Goldfields. The first thing I did when I took over the operation was refurbish our four high-spec, purpose built V8 jet boats and refresh the look of the business,” he says.
Most of Goldfields Jet’s customers arrive via coach in large groups, although the number of independent travellers – those who self-drive – has tripled in the last year. The company offers a variety of jet boat ride durations and recently teamed up with local wineries, collaborating for a ride and lunch experience.
The business is seasonal, which presents unique challenges to Cam. “From September to April we are flat out,” he says. “From April, while we don’t get the boats out on the water as much, there is still plenty to do including important maintenance. Our staff is salaried, and we need to balance out the longer hours they do in the busy summer months with shorter days in the winter.”
Helping Cam with the business purchase and the ongoing running of Goldfield’s is Moore Markhams Queenstown advisor Heath Copland. While it’s a new relationship, it’s one Cam says is “absolutely crucial” to the success of the company.
“Heath had just arrived back from South Africa and I was one of his first clients. Although he was working for another firm at the time, when he moved to Moore Markhams in 2019, I moved with him. I’m tied to him!
Cam is only 29, relatively young to be running a large tourism business, but he’s not fazed with Heath at the end of the phone.
“Owning a new business including managing seasonal cash flow is challenging. You could say what I expected it would be like and what it turned out to be were two different things! Without Heath I’d be lost,” he laughs.
Also, with Heath’s help, Cam can ride the peaks and troughs that occur in the jetboat industry. “You can’t foresee things like motors blowing up, but they happen, and we are prepared for contingencies.”
Cam says Heath has gone “over and above” with advice and help.
“While he does our annual accounts and looks after the financial management, he’s also my trusted business advisor. There were a number of things I hadn’t thought about before going into business, but Heath is able to guide me through these. Recently we worked through a finance restructure and his advice has been brilliant. He’s a valued member of the Goldfields Jet team.”