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White Water Rafting


White water rafting is for those people seeking untamed white water thrills that offer potentially terrifying drops, rapids and the most exciting sightseeing trip. Many white water rafting enthusiasts and explorers visit New Zealand to experience the wet and wild thrill and excitement that the fast-flowing rivers of New Zealand offer.

While white water rafting is ranked among the extreme sports, it doesn’t mean non athletic people can enjoy it too. Anyone who enjoys the outdoors and is looking for adventure will appreciate it. People of all ages, even those without prior experience in rafting can challenge the rapids and enjoy the wilderness fun.

Rafting is classified into grades, from Grade 1 being gentle, to Grade 5 being extreme. Grade 1 rivers offer relatively tranquil waters for that calm and quiet float trip that enables you to totally appreciate the spectacular scenery, while grade 5 is regarded as an extreme sport for that adrenaline-pumping journey that thrills and excites. Whichever you decide on, you’re sure to get hooked.

Rafting rivers in the North Island are commonly located in the central east coast areas of the Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay. In the South Island, you can try rafting around the resort town of Queenstown, Christchurch and on the West Coast.


The Rivers of the North Island

Tongariro River (Grade 3): The Tongariro rapids are fun without being too terrifying, making it an action-packed beginner river. This scenic river has crystal clear waters and the abundance of Trout that are frequently seen from the rafts.

Mokau River (Grade 3-4): The Mokau River is a great rafting trip for experienced and beginner rafters alike. It is one of the only commercially-rafted rivers in New Zealand that runs primarily through farm land and native bush land.

Rangitaiki River (Grade 3-4): Its rapids are generally composed mostly of rolling waves with very few rocks to avoid. It’s a great rafting trip for families and people looking for a more relaxing and scenic adventure. It showcases a deep gorge with cascading waterfalls and vibrant, green scenery.

Kaituna River (Grade 4): The Kaituna River is one of New Zealand’s most famous rivers on the North Island. It is famous for having the tallest commercially rafted waterfall in the world and is suitable for both beginners and intermediate rafters.

Motu River (Grade 4): Experience a beautiful multi-day wilderness trip on a free-flowing river at Motu. White water rafting trips on the Motu range from three to five days in length, so they are the right fit for those in search of an adventurous overnight expedition on New Zealand’s North Island.

Wairoa River (Grade 5): The Wairoa River is one of the North Island’s most challenging rivers. It is a great way for the thrill seekers out there to get a quick adrenaline fix in an extremely scenic setting.

Mohaka River (Grade 3-5): The Mohaka River boasts of its spectacular and rugged scenery. Rafting trips on the Mohaka River can actually cover a whole range of difficulty with the river broken up into several sections.


The Rivers of the South Island

Kawarau River (Grade 3): The Kawarau River is a great introduction to the thrills of white water rafting. It offers stretches of calm, quiet water that allows ample time to practice paddling and rafting techniques. It is great for beginners and people who want to just relax and enjoy the scenery.

Shotover River (Grade 3-4): The Shotover River is the most popular river in New Zealand. It has a nine mile section which is narrow with large boulders resulting in large rapids.

Landsborough River (Grade 2-3): A Landsborough multi-day river trip is special because it’s not just a river rafting trip, it’s a wilderness experience. If you want a more relaxed and serene experience, then this river is for you.

White water rafting is a thrilling, exhilarating and even a relaxing experience in itself. Shoot down the rapids, conquer the challenging river, splash into the cold water and experience the fun of white water rafting!

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