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Kawarau River Rafting Tour from Queenstown

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Key Highlights
  • Raft the spectacular Kawarau River Gorge, graded 2-3
  • No prior experience required – ideal for first-timers
  • Experience the unforgettable 400m long Dog Leg – NZ′s longest commercially rafted rapid
  • Wetsuits and safety equipment included
  • Hot shower and sauna facilities provided
  • Activity Schedule
    When does it run?



    4 hours 30 minutes

    Start time

    0815h (8:15am), 1315h (1:15pm)
    Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes

    Meeting Point

    Your hotel in Queenstown (morning departure only)
    (Please mention your hotel details at the time of booking. If you do not have this information now, please contact the local activity operator 24 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details.)
    For the afternoon departure please make your way to Queenstown Rafting Shop, 35 Shotover Street, Queenstown

    Ending Point

    Downtown Queenstown

  • Overview & Itinerary
    Overview Expect joy, exhilaration and stupendous scenery when you join this exciting rafting adventure on the Kawarau River.

    Graded 2 to 3, the Kawarau is perfect for first time rafters or those looking for a relaxed experience. There’s plenty of challenging white-water action as well as quiet stretches where you can practice paddling, look at the view, or take part in a friendly water fight.

    The Kawarau River starred as the River Anduin in the “Lord of the Rings” movies. And the majesty of the canyons can make you feel you’re paddling through the heart of Middle Earth!

    This trip is an excellent introduction to the thrill of rafting. Be careful- it might be the start of a life-long passion!


    There are two departures for the Kawarau River Rafting Tour from Queenstown - morning and afternoon. For the morning tour, you will be collected from your hotel in Queenstown and taken to the rafting base. For the afternoon you should make your way to the Queenstown Rafting Shop, 35 Shotover Street, where a vehicle will pick you up and take you to the Kawarau River.

    Before setting off on the raft ride, you will be issued with a wet suit and life jacket and will receive an extensive safety briefing from your experienced river guide.

    The Kawarau is the largest water volume river in New Zealand with commercial whitewater rafting trips. Your ride will take you through the 4-mile Kawarau Gorge where the rafting is exciting but not too challenging for novices. There are four significant rapids on this stretch of river – Smith’s Falls, Twin Bridges, Do Little Do Nothing and the magnificent 400m Dog Leg. In addition, there are calm stretches of water where beginners can practice.

    At the end of your exciting adventure you can use the hot showers and sauna at the rafting base and will later be dropped back in downtown Queenstown.

  • Inclusions & Exclusions
    • Hotel pick-up (morning departure only)
    • Transportation - Queenstown downtown to rafting base
    • English-speaking instructors/guides
    • Hot showers and sauna
    • Full wetsuit rafting clothing and safety equipment
    • Extensive safety briefing
    • Hotel pick-up (afternoon departure)
    • Hotel drop off
    • Meals
  • Please note & Additional info
    Please note

    It is essential to call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming the tour and departure details.

    Participants on this tour should be water confident.

    Travellers must have a "minimum weight" of 40kgs (88kbs) to participate on this tour.

    The minimum age for this tour is 13. Children aged between 13 and 15 years must have a guardian travel with them. All travellers between the age of 15 and 18 years require a waiver to be signed by a guardian if they are unaccompanied.

    For the afternoon departure please make your way to Queenstown Rafting Shop, 35 Shotover Street, Queenstown.

    Voucher information: You must print and surrender a paper version of your booking voucher for this activity (showing your voucher on a smartphone is not accepted). No refund can be given for customers without a printed copy of their voucher.

    Additional info

    The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details and local telephone numbers at the destination. They will happily answer any logistical questions you may have.

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