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New Zealand Kayak School. The Murchison-based New Zealand Kayak School is probably the best opportunity you'll get anywhere for learning the thrills of whitewater paddling—all of it on great, scenic rivers. Top professional instructors are based here; they love the area for the huge range of paddling available within 10 minutes' drive. The school offers tuition and training camps for groups and individuals, beginners to advanced, from a few hours to multiday trips on local rivers. Age is no barrier—the oldest (so far) couple they've taught to paddle were aged 69 and 71. Check the website for options, or they'll work with your requests. 4 Grey St., Murchison, 7007. 03/352–5786. www.nzkayakschool.com.
Ultimate Descents New Zealand. Ultimate Descents New Zealand, with highly experienced guides, runs rafting trips on the Maruia (Grade III), Clarence (Grade II), Buller (Grade III–IV), Mokihinui (Grade IV) and Karamea (Grade V) rivers. It also runs inflatable kayaking on the easier rivers. All half-day and day trips include a light snack, and the multiday trips are fully catered. They've been doing this for years, they know the water well. 38 Waller St., Murchison, 7007. 03/523–9899 or 0800/748–377. email@example.com. www.rivers.co.nz. half-day suitable for kids NZ$95, adults NZ$130; full-day $240; multiday wilderness trips NZ$500–$1,500—minimum of four people unless trip is already running.
Wild Rivers Rafting. Wild Rivers Rafting provides one of the premium white-water rafting experiences in the country, the legendary "Earthquake Rapids" on the Buller River in the rain forest. These are Grade III and IV rapids. Their qualified guides will take good care of you even if it's your first-ever rafting adventure. (Ask them about the river flow when you book.) Organic, fair-trade coffee and tea is part of the tour. River time is two hours; allow four hours total. Pick-up is at the Iron Bridge on SH6, 37 km (23 miles) from Murchison. Iron Bridge, Upper Buller Gorge Rd., SH6, Murchison, 7007. 0508/467–238. firstname.lastname@example.org. www.wildriversrafting.co.nz.