Rafting and Kayaking in Rotorua Environs

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Rafting and Kayaking

The Rotorua region has rivers with Grade III to Grade V rapids that make excellent white-water rafting. For scenic beauty—and best for first-timers—the Rangitaiki River (Grades III–IV) is recommended. For experienced rafters, the Wairoa River has exhilarating Grade V rapids. The climax of a rafting trip on the Kaituna River is the drop over the 21-foot Okere Falls, among the highest to be rafted by a commercial operator anywhere. The various operators run similar trips on a daily schedule, though different rivers are open at different times of year, depending on water levels. All equipment and instruction are provided, plus transportation to and from the departure points (which can be up to 80 km [50 mi] from Rotorua). Prices start around NZ$90 for the short (one-hour) Kaituna run; a half day on the Rangitaiki costs from NZ$120. Many operators sell combination trips.

Go Wild Adventures. Gentler natures can opt for a serene paddle on one of Rotorua's lakes. Among the variety of tours are a half a day spent paddling on Lake Rotorua (NZ$80) and a full day on Lake Tarawera (NZ$140) that includes a swim in a natural hot pool. The adventurous might also like either overnight or multiday trips that begin at $210. 64 27/4997–402 cell; 64 7/533 2926. www.gowildadventures.co.nz.

Kaituna Cascades. Kaituna Cascades knows the river it takes its name from like the back of its hand (or raft). The company organizes one-day or multiday expeditions using rafts or kayaks with a focus on fun and safety. A rafting trip will cost NZ$84 while a double kayak ride is NZ$140 but only to those who weigh under 84 kilograms. Trout Pool Rd., Rotorua. 64 7/345–4199 or 0800/524–8862. www.kaitunacascades.co.nz.

Raftabout. This outfit focuses on day trips, some pairing rafting with jet-boating. Check the website for details. State Highway 33, Okere Falls, Rotorua, 3015. 64 7/343–9500. www.raftabout.co.nz.

River Rats. River Rats provides day trips to the main rivers as well as adventure packages. 391 State Highway 33, Mourea, Rotorua. 07/345–6543 or 0800/333–900. www.riverrats.co.nz.

Wet 'n' Wild Adventure. One-day itineraries cover the Rangitaiki, Wairoa, and Kaituna rivers. Wet 'n' Wild Adventure has multi-adventure and double-trip options. 2 White Street, Rotorua. 07/348–3191 or 0800/462–7238. www.wetnwildrafting.co.nz.

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