The white-water rafting on the North Island of New Zealand is considered some of the world’s best. This wild river to the south of Rotorua has 8.5 miles (14 kilometers) of raging rapids that are consistent for most of the year. Visitors can splash, bounce, and paddle their way down the Rangitaiki River with a guide.
About 96 miles (155 kilometers) long, the Rangitaiki River is the longest river in the North Island’s Bay of Plenty. Most of the rapids are Class III and IV, offering excitement even for experienced rafters. Those looking for a more laid-back experience can opt for a scenic paddle over Class II rapids. The middle section of the river provides a relaxing flat-water area. Guided trips are available for different skill levels.
Things to Know Before You Go
- No prior experience is necessary, but it is recommended that participants be physically fit.
- Outfitters provide wetsuits and helmets, so the rafting experience will be safe and warm.
- Lunch or snacks plus hot showers are usually included.
- Bring swimwear, a towel, and a change of clothing.
- Children must be accompanied by an adult.
How to Get There
Rafting trips usually begin in Murupara (about 45 minutes from Rotorua); the base is located between Rotorua and Taupo in the Bay of Plenty region. Round-trip transportation from centrally located hotels or the Rotorua airport is usually included with a guided rafting tour.
When to Get There
Most rafting excursions offer pickup before 12pm and include a safety briefing, introduction to paddling, and plenty of time to slip into a wetsuit and gear up. River trips operate year-round.
Don’t Miss the Scenery
While most of the emphasis on a rafting trip is on navigating the rapids safely, be sure to take time to soak up the natural surroundings of the Rangitaiki River Valley. You’ll pass cascading falls in the river gorge fronted by sheer rock walls, and a magnificent shoreline draped in lush forest.