The wild waters of New Zealand: rafting the Rangitata

The wild waters of New Zealand: rafting the Rangitata

Rafting in New Zealand has been on the menu for quite a long time. Because of work, holidays, babies (no not me), busy weekends and bad weather it took us more than a year. But we finally DID IT!

The chosen one was the Rangitata river. I love the sound of that word: Rangi-ta-ta. Anyway, we didn’t choose that river because it sounds nice, we chose it because it was nearby and not too boring.

Rafting New Zealand rangitataNot too boring is an understatement. We rafted a grade 5. To give you an idea, grade 1 is easy.

Grade 5: Whitewater, large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, requires precise manoeuvring. 

Grade 6 is ‘the maximum and are considered to be so dangerous that it is very likely to end in serious injury or death’. Say whaaat? None of us had a lot of experience rafting, but we were super keen and a tiny bit nervous (I admit, this was mostly me).

Rafting New Zealand rangitata
Yes, we’re ready to go!

The part of the Rangitata we rafted is about 10 kilometres long. You start on a calm part of the river to learn all the tricks of peddling and most of all listening to your guide! Then you encounter a grade two, followed by a grade 4 and then THE GRADE FIVE.

One word: awesome! It was super exciting to go in that wild water and peddle like crazy. We spent about 1,5 hours rafting and that was definitely not enough. I would have preferred to do a bit more, as did my fellow raft mates.

rafting rangitata NZ
Going all the way for it!
rafting rangitata NZ
Keep on peddling!
rafting rangitata NZ
Almost swallowed by the waves!

What I really like about this trip is that you gradually get used to bigger and bigger waves and rapids. When the bigger ones came I was laughing and shouting at the same time. At one of the rapids we were so lucky. We missed the first ‘exit’ and got slammed by two big waves (about 2 meter). Our raft became unstable and ALMOST flipped over. This is the photo from right after, I just love our faces. Everyone realised we were so close to capsizing. Also, check the amount of water in our raft.

Rafting Rangitata NZ
Very close call

The rest of the river went smoother, there were some cool waves and rapids, but luckily we didn’t come close to capsizing. I would have hated it to fall out of the raft in wild waters like that.

Rafting rangitata NZ
Rafting rangitata NZ
and there we go!

I booked this trip with Rangitata Rafts, and paid 180 NZ dollars. That’s a bit of money, but it is definitely worth the while to go rafting in New Zealand. Unfortunately it is not a sport you can just do by yourself (like we go climbing or canyoning). Now we can finally tick that off our list and we just need to find a new friend that is experienced at rafting. Anyone interested? We’ll take you climbing in return!

It was a rainy and moody day, but we had so much fun on the water. Way better spending a Sunday out in the water than being lazy inside.

What do you think? Would you like to fight those waves?

7 thoughts on “The wild waters of New Zealand: rafting the Rangitata

  1. I’m not sure where in Austria, I’d have to go back and check my photos, it was over 20 years ago! I do remember I fell out of the raft and the water was FREEZING but I was plucked out by the guide in about a second flat.

  2. That looks like so much fun! Category 5 is definitely intimidating. Kudos to you guys for going big. I think I’ll try a 3 or 4 first 🙂

    1. Thanks Kellie! Cool you want to try the rafting as well! I found the grade 3 rapids already exciting! So you should definitely be fine with a grade 3 or 4! Have fun!

  3. Oh wow, this sounds absolutely fantastic. I went white water rafting in Austria many years ago and more recently in Port Douglas but I don’t think they were category 5 trips. Probably more like category 3. Awesome shots.

    1. Rafting in Austria sounds awesome Miriam! Where about was it? Wasn’t it freezing cold? And ehh, next time a grade 5 for you eh 😉

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