Clarence River Rafting. The Clarence is one of New Zealand's least known yet most interesting and scenically stunning wilderness rivers. It follows a faultline between the Inland and Seaward Kaikoura ranges, the highest peaks outside the Southern Alps, through some of the most unique geology in the country. Vegetation is a mix of tussock-covered hills, shrublands, scree slopes and bare rock. Public access to the river's isolated upper reaches is limited, this locally-based company can organise the entire expedition; transport, rafts, trusted and knowledgable guides, all meals and tent accommodation. The river is bouncy at best, it's an ideal beginners' or family trip (minimum age 5)- and by far a raft is the best option to visit this wild and wonderful country. Anything from half-day (NZ$120) to fully-catered overnight and multi-day (NZ$1400) trips are offered, including either vehicle shutle to your journey's starting point. Helicopter shuttles can be arranged at extra cost. Trips end at the rivermouth, at Clarence township, one hour north of Kaikoura, transfers can be arranged from the Picton ferries, Marlborough and Picton airports or Hanmer Springs township. 3802 SH1, Kaikoura, 7371. 03/319-6993. www.clarenceriverrafting.co.nz. May through September.