This is a comprehensive White Water Rafting River Valley Travel Guide, which tells you everything you need to know about an equally spectacular as well as tranquil spot from one of the world’s most adventurous countries. New Zealand is full of exciting adventures. It literally has it all: Swimming with dolphins, sand dune boarding, surfing, scuba diving, tours through Hobbiton, vulcano trekking, mountaineering, fjord cruises and much more. It’s almost unbelievable how much New Zealand has in store for adventure seekers.
But one of the greatest tourist attractions is the White Water Rafting in River Valley. There are a couple places in New Zealand where you can experience this crazy type of activity, but River Valley is the creme de la creme.
It belongs to New Zealand’s most spectecular rafting destinations and it’s advertised by many partners all over the country. It’s not just the rafting itself, which is great fun, but also the incredible scenery that makes people praise this tour. When I went there, I didn’t really know what to expect, because I have never done White Water Rafting in my life before. I always heard good things about it and the fact that I am an adrenalin junky anyway, was reason enough to put the rafting on top of my New Zealand itinerary.
And after doing it, I can definitely recommend this kind of adventure to everyone, who is interested in making a great memory that lasts for a long, long time. And because it’s such a great thing to do, I wanted to set up this White Water Rafting River Valley Travel Guide to inspire you to do this trip as well, so that you also have the chance to make an incredible memory!
White Water Rafting River Valley Travel Guide – General information
River Valley is one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. It lies on the north island, 3 hours south of Taupo, close to the Ruahine Forest Park. Getting there is quite easy. You just follow the A1 all the time, doesn’t matter, if you come from the south or the north. At some point, you’ll reach a cross, where you have to turn and follow Spooners Road. From there it’s just a 30 minute drive.
River Valley is basically an area full of majestic hills with countless of sheeps running around as well as dramatic cliffs that surround the powerful Rangitikei River, which is where the White Water Rafting actually takes place. Did you know that New Zealand has more sheep than men? Pretty crazy, right?
All the beauty I saw in this magnificent area was also a big reason for me to write this White Water Rafting River Valley Travel Guide. Trust me, you will love it too!
Besides admiring the beautiful landscape, people can hike on various secret paths, starting from the local family ranch. Don’t even start to think of using your mobile phone, since you won’t get any connection in this hidden gem. River Valley is absolutely an off the beaten path destination, which allows visitors to fully concentrate on the activities ahead. Trust me, it’s a great way to get your head free and fully recharge your batteries.
For people, who want to take things a little more relaxed, Robyn and Brian Sage, the owners of the River Valley Lodge, offer a big variety of undramatic experiences like tranquil guided walks, horse riding or spa treatments. Alongside others, Robyn and Brian even won the Tripadviser certificate of Excellence award in 2014 for their unique venture, which says a lot about the overall standard you can expect as a visitor. The location started to get popular in the 1980s and slowly became one of New Zealand’s most south after destinations over the years.
More than 4.000 people visit River Valley each year, which is a massive number for such a tiny place.
River Valley Travel Guide – White Water Rafting
But now let’s talk about the main part of the White Water Rafting River Valley Travel Guide – the rafting itself.
You most likely start from the River Valley Lodge, because there are almost no other places to stay at in the area. You’ll get picked up in the early morning, right after breakfast. Gear will be provided by the local tour company. You’ll get equipped with a wetsuit, a helmet, a lifejacket, some neoprene booties, a fleece top, a paddle jacket, and on cooler days, some neoprene gloves as well as neoprene socks.
You will definitely need all of that, since the water is quite cold. The lush equipment will not only be provided due to the low water temperature, but also for safety reasons. During the River Valley White Water Rafting you will constantely be surrounded by big rocks and massive cliffs. In case of a collison, you’ll at least have some protection.
After the pick up, you will be brought to the starting point, which is several kilometers away. The short transport with the mini bus is already a highlight for itself. Evergreen valleys with tiny lakes here and there, surrounded by picture-perfect mountains. Sooo nice!
It really reminded me of the Lord of the Rings settings. A perfect start to the day for a geek like me 🙂
Once you reach the starting point, you will have to carry the boat downhill towards the river. It’s not like everything is set up for you already. You have to do your part, which is also the best way to describe the White Water Rafting itself as well. You’ll realized pretty quickly, that you have to do your part and work in a team in order to have a smooth ride.
But before you start, the tour guide gives the whole team a brief instruction. He tells everyone what to do and what not to do.
For example: If he says “forward” everyone in the boat has to paddle straightforward as hard as possible. The same applies for any other direction. If he says “sleep”, you have to lay back, so that you don’t fall over when the boat “flys” down a waterfall or a chute. This list goes on. Overall you have to remember about 8 announcements. After that, it’s time to get into the water. Let the fun begin!
Before you get to the exciting parts of the White Water Rafting in River Valley, the guide practises with the team what they have just learned. He also makes everyone jump out the boat and get back in, so that people get a feeling of how it is to be outside of the comfort zone. During the whole rafting tour you’ll pass several grade 4-5 waterfalls and stop at certain cliffs. At these, you have the opportunity to show your toughness by jumping off from a hight of 6-7 meters. If you don’t have a fear of hights, then this is for you. The guides bring a camera to take a souvenir photo, which you can buy at the River Valley Lodge after the tour has finished.
In between there are also some parts that just simply astonished me to the core. “Nature at its best” is what I would call that!
I felt absolutely free, floating down the Rangiteki River while being surrounded by massive cliffs, which reflected the sunlight onto the crystal clear water, ultimately making the whole scenery shine in gold. Absolutely incomparable!
I promise: You rarely experience something like that again, ever!
The trip ends right at the River Valley Lodge where you can jump straight under the well deserved hot shower.
Costs & Requirements
The White Water Rafting River Valley Travel Guide wouldn’t be complete without a cost & requirement section.
The White Water Rafting in River Valley costs 175 NZD including the gear, transportation and the guide. You have to be at least 13 y/o and you need a moderate fitness level. If you have health issues, you have to let the tour company know upfront.
Accommodation costs vary, depending on what you book. One night in a deluxe twin room, including a 3-course menu and drinks cost about 229 NZD, whereas camping only costs 18$ per night. So it’s really up to what you fancy.
Of course the White Water Rafting River Valley Travel Guide also includes some tips. Here are a couple ones I can highly recommend to anyone:
- Book upfront – This place is fully booked out a lot of times throughout the year
- BYO food and drinks to save some money – The lodge is quite expensive
- Bring a good waterproofed camera – The provided helmets have an attachment
- Visit in summer – During spring, autumn and winter the rafting can get cancelled due to an excessive hight of water
Want to know more about New Zealand? Read here
What could also interest you:
- Ultimate packing list – What’s in my Backpack?
- The best Travel Gear to explore the world
- What to pack for a short camping trip
- Best Travel Backpack – How to choose the right one?