Multi day rafting rafting in the central North Island of New Zealand
Multi day rafting rafting in the central North Island of New Zealand

In this blog we’re looking at white water and multi day rafting options in New Zealand. There are a few different multi day rafting options in both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. We’re particularly looking at the central North Island here, but ask us about other options throughout New Zealand. River Valley New Zealand are located near the Rangitikei River on the central North Island of New Zealand.

For our clients with limited time, which one day rafting experience do you recommend?

Our Grade 5 White Water Rafting, a half-day white water rafting trip on the Rangitikei River. With 10 major Grade 4-5 rapids on this 12 km run, plus numerous smaller rapids, there is plenty to get excited about. Or perhaps our Awesome Scenic Family Rafting Adventure on the Scenic section downstream from River Valley Lodge

For those clients with longer who want to really experience NZ wilderness, which of your multi day experiences to you suggest?

There are a lot of great ones to choose from. The Rangitikei River Explorer 5 day 6 night adventure is a great multi-day to really experience the NZ wilderness and totally immerse yourself in nature – a six-night multi-day rafting and riverside camping trip on the Rangitikei River.

White water and multi day rafting in New Zealand. This is on the West Coast of the South Island.
White water and multi day rafting in New Zealand. This is on the West Coast of the South Island.

Do you need any previous rafting experience?

Prior rafting experience is not required before going on a Grade 5 rafting trip with River Valley. What is important is an average level of fitness and plenty of enthusiasm. This enthusiasm is best described as a willingness to listen to and respond to your guides commands. You do need to realise that a Grade 5 rafting trip is not some sort of fairground or amusement park ride. The unexpected can and does happen.

Will you see many other tourists on the rivers?

On the Whanganui you will see other tourists. However the Rangitikei and Ngaruroro are not used by many others for rafting, so you’re less likely to see people there.

What equipment to our clients need to bring along and what do you provide?

On our day trips the clients need swimwear, towel and a thirst for adventure. We will provide; wetsuit, helmet, lifejacket, neoprene booties, fleece top, paddle jacket, and on cooler days, neoprene gloves and neoprene socks. On our multi-day trips clients are sent a gear list.

Rafting on a tranquil portion of the river
Rafting on a tranquil portion of the river

On the multi day options, what type of accommodation should our guests expect?

From traditional tramping style bunk-houses through to Deluxe Riverside suites. We have a range of accommodation for you to rest your head after the day’s adventure.

Given these multi day trips are generally off the beaten track, how does the catering work, what type of food should they expect, and can you cater for special dietary requirements?

Expect nothing but great food! We appreciate a good meal, whether at the lodge or on the river. We are proud to say that most of the meats we use come from regenerative or organic free-range farms. A lot of our other ingredients come from our very own vegetable gardens and free range chickens.

Are these trips suitable for families with younger children, is there a minimum age limit?

Our Scenic Family Rafting Trips (Grade 2) are ideal for families. There is a multi day river trip for almost everyone with an age limit of 5 years.

How does the grading of the rivers work and should beginners aim for a lower graded river?

The following classification is based on the international white water rafting rapid grading system. River rapid grades are approximate rather than a definitive measures of a rapid’s seriousness or difficulty.

  • Grade 1 – Rapids are small regular waves. The passage is clear and easy to recognise and negotiate. Care may be needed with obstacles like fallen trees and bridge piers.
  • Grade 2 – Rapids have regular medium sized waves (less than 1 metre), low ledges or drops, easy eddies and gradual bends.
  • Grade 3 – Rapids with fairly high waves (1-2 metres), broken water, stoppers and strong eddies, exposed rocks and small falls
  • Grade 4 – Difficult rapids with high, powerful, irregular waves, broken water, often boiling eddies, strong stoppers, ledges, drops and dangerous exposed rocks
  • Grade 5 – Very powerful rapids with very confused and broken water, large drops, violent and fast currents, abrupt turns, difficult powerful stoppers and fast boiling eddies; with numerous obstacles in the main current. Complex, precise and powerful sequential manoeuvring is required. A definite risk to personal safety exists.
  • Grade 6 – All previous difficulties increased to the limit of practicability. Very confused and violent water so difficult that controlled navigation by raft is virtually impossible.

I notice you have some adventure tours which combine rafting with other experiences, tell us about your favourite of these?

Our River Wild Mountain High Adventure Package is awesome. This combines rafting and horse trekking with comfortable accommodation, delicious food and spa time to really relax after your adventures.

How far ahead should you plan a multi-day trip?

We do encourage people to book as far in advance as is practical. Obviously this would be more likely to assure you of being able to purchase what you want. But also, and especially in the case of multi-day trips, this gives us a little more planning room. During the busy Christmas holiday season it pays to book well in advance.

Rafting New Zealand
White water rafting New Zealand

What is the best time of year for a rafting trip?

Grade 5 rafting trips operate 364 days per year depending on weather and river conditions, and bookings. Each season brings something different with the scenery and water, it’s a good time all year round. Multi day rafting and camping trips operate from mid Spring to mid Autumn.

What training and experience do the guides have?

River Valley only employ guides who have been assessed and registered with Sports Fitness Recreation Industry Training Organisation (SFRITO), and the New Zealand Rafting Association. Many of our guides also have international guiding experience, not to mention many seasons at home. All guides are trained in First Aid and CPR. In addition, guides carry out on site regular scenario and skill training.

Luxury Adventures – Tailoring luxury travel in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Islands since 1999. Contact us now about organizing a multi day rafting trip for your group of family.

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