We went into Rotorua Rafting having never done any white water rafting before. We were told that it was a grade 5 rafting experience and that there were 3 waterfalls to go down, one of which happened to be a 7-meter whopper!
After this exhilarating experience, we’re not at all surprised of its #1 Trip Advisor status, as it was nothing short of brilliant. The perfect mix of hilarious, exciting, and educational!
Our group was made up of seven people ranging from approximately 20-50 in age: three Kiwis, three Germans, and our Canadian guide. A motley crew, but a good crew.
The guide was simply superb. He was knowledgeable in rafting and taught us all we needed to know in order for a safe trip. He was also able to give us a great cultural background of the river and its surroundings.
Our guide spoke of how the Kaituna River has long been the source of life for the local Iwi (tribe) and how it supplied Kai (food) and Wai (water) needed for survival. He also informed us that it had once been a battleground where the local warriors had battled to keep their Taonga (treasure) that is the Kaituna.
Aside from making us feel safe and having knowledge of our surroundings, the guide was genuinely funny. He had us laughing like children the whole way.
The start of the journey saw us navigate our way through some of New Zealand’s stunning bush, going down several rapids and bouncing from one side of the riverbank to the other. We also went down two waterfalls; one of which spat one of the Roady crew out into the drink (HOT TIP – don’t sit right at the front).
Luckily for him, the Kaituna River is one of the warmest rivers in New Zealand so a little dip wasn’t the worst. Our guide also stopped off at a sweet little jumping spot where our crew got to climb up a 5-metre rock and take a leap of faith into the flowing water.
Rafting the Highest Commercially Rafted Waterfall in the World
A big part of the trip was the anticipation of the seven-metre waterfall we all knew was coming. We had no idea what to expect. How were we going to land? Would we fall out? Would we get knocked out by somebody else’s oar?
Knowing the Tutea falls is the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world definitely boosted adrenalin levels at the time.
The guide stopped us just before the drop, pulling the raft to the side of the river to give us a brief. We all tucked in our oars and held onto the ropes along the side of the raft. We then waited for the sound of an air-horn from the crew below to signal it was safe to come down. Our guide then released his grip from the tree root he was holding onto and we eased closer and closer to the edge.
Positioned right at the front, we had the first look over the edge and down the body of fast flowing water.
And down we plummeted…
Hit the water nose first and dived under the surface. The whole boat was submerged briefly before shooting back up to the surface.
Wiping the water from our eyes we looked around to see that two out of our seven-man crew had fallen out of the raft. These fallen soldiers were being taken safely by a gentle rapid to the side of the river.
Still in shock, the remaining five survivors stood up on the raft, put our oars in the air and did some weird kind of survival dance.
When in Rotorua…
What to bring on your Rotorua Rafting Experience:
- Swimsuit and towel
- Go Pro – if you have one definitely bring it along as you can attach it to your helmet. You are also able to purchase high-quality photos from Rotorua Rafting at the end of the tour. They have photographers strategically placed to capture you with your jaw dropped to the ground as you tackle the 7-metre waterfall.
- A pumped up attitude.
- Don’t worry about any safety equipment as this will be provided for you (wetsuit, boots, helmet, buoyancy aids).
Time: Approx. 1 hour on the river. Allow 3 hours for the whole experience.
Pick-Up: Rotorua Rafting also offers transfers from Central Rotorua.
Cost: $85 per person
Roady Discount: Use the promo code ‘ROADY10’ when booking online to score yourself $10 off
We highly recommend Rotorua Rafting to anyone that likes adventure, adrenalin and a good ol’ laugh. Previous rafting experience is definitely not necessary. You’re given all the info you need for a safe rafting experience.
Happy rafting 🙂