South Island Rafting
As we know the higher the mountains the fasters and the Southern Alps of New Zealands South Island feed some pretty wild but very beautiful rivers! This is especially true with the islands West Coast that experiences litteral torrential rain creating Turbulent rivers that cascade down from the mountains through lush native forest before spilling into the Tasman Sea. These extremes of the west coast make heli rafting an exciting region for multi of even single day adventures. Conversly on the eastern side of the Alps the rivers spread out over the flood plains of Canterbury allowing fantastic scenic journeys possible. The other areas worthy of note are Queenstown the so called ‘Adventure capital of the world’ in Southland/Otago has two white water rivers rafted and that is the beautiful Kawarau and Shotover rivers and in North Canterbury near the seaside township of Kaikoura is the mighty Clarence River.
- Upper Buller River - One of the highlights of paddling the class III-IV Upper Buller River is going over the 4.8 meter (16 foot)Ariki Falls on the South Island’s West Coast.
- The Karamea River – Its either a 2 day hike or a heli-journey to get to the headwaters of this 3-5 day trip down the class II-V Karamea river that allows to experience the wildly beautiful Kahurangi National Park in very north of the West Coast.
The Clarence River - One of New Zealand’s longest river journeys, this five day river run moves down class II-III rapids is mild but an overall great trip for beginner and intermediate rafters.
- Charleston Black Water Cave Rafting – Float through an underground canyon and experience galaxy’s of glowworms and amazing cave formations. (4 to 5 Hours)
River Grades - Scale of New Zealand River Rafting Difficulty
- Grade I: Little or no rough water, slight maneuvering maybe necessary, passive (Skills Required: very basic)
- Grade II: Little or no rough water, possibility of rocks, might require some maneuvering. (Skills Required: basic paddling skill needed)
- Grade III: whitewater likely, some small waves expected, possibility of small drop, no considerable danger. Significant maneuvering maybe required. (Skills Required: experienced paddling)
- Grade V: Whitewater, large volume, large waves, likely large rocks & hazards, the possibility of large drops, precise maneuvering required. (Skills Required: advanced whitewater-rafting experience)
- Grade VI: These rapids are so dangerous that they are unnavigable safely. Expect substantial whitewater, huge waves with huge rocks and hazards. Drops will give severe impacts beyond the capacities of almost all-rafting equipment leading to an increased likelihood of ending in serious injury or death. (Skills Required: not recommended)