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Waikato

River rafting

Our most recommended Waikato River Rafting

Waitomo Caves: Labyrinth Black Water Rafting Experience

1. Waitomo Caves: Labyrinth Black Water Rafting Experience

Float down an underground river, slip into fast waters, jump off a small waterfall and take in the magic of the glowworm grotto of Ruakuri Cave on this Black Labyrinth adventure. Put on your gear and learn from professionally trained guides that will take you ziplining, rafting, and caving.  Check in for your black water adventure in Waitomo. Get all your equipment and instructions from your guide before you begin the subterranean journey. Leap over cascading waterfalls and weave and climb through a glowworm-studded wonderland. After an energized trip, float serenely down the underground river. Enjoy the glow worm show on the vaulted limestone galleries up above. Ride a stream that twists and turns through a canyon, and tumble down a hidden waterfall and rock slide before emerging into the sun-dappled Waitomo forest. The rafting base is located a short distance outside Waitomo Caves village. This is the booking and assembly point for all black water rafting expeditions. It is also the home of the Long Black Cafe, where you'll find delicious food, coffee, and friendly Kiwi service. 

Cambridge: Waikato River 45-Minute Extreme Jet Boat Ride

2. Cambridge: Waikato River 45-Minute Extreme Jet Boat Ride

Take a hair-raising ride on the Waikato River, and reach speeds of up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour. Enjoy fast and furious slides, make 360-degree spins, and stop at historic and sightseeing locations. Meet and greet your local, professional guide at the boat ramp meeting point. Complete a small amount of paperwork, and fit yourself up with a spray suit to keep you dry, as well as a life jacket to keep you safe. After receiving a safety briefing from your guide, hear the roar of your high horsepower V8 jet boat as it comes into life once fed with air, fuel, and fire. Head off on the first leg of your tour, and feel your adrenaline pumping. Enter into a 360-degree spin before coming to a stop at historic locations. Listen to your guide's commentary about the places you visit and learn about the fish, birds, and wildlife in the area. Sites you will see include the Cambridge Gorge and Karapiro Dam, as well as rapids and waterfalls. Then, hang on extra tight for the speedy return leg back to the boat ramp.

Turangi: Family Rafting Adventure on Tongariro River

3. Turangi: Family Rafting Adventure on Tongariro River

Drive only a few minutes out of Turangi and start your rafting adventure on the lower reaches of the Tongariro River. The river is located in Tongariro National Park, famous for its awe-inspiring landscapes and fascinating wildlife.  The whole family will ride a series of 20+ rapids on this 8km journey, with professional raft guides that will ensure everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves. You will learn about traditional Maori myths and legends unique to the area and your guides will keep you entertained with water education, safety tips and trivia about the Tongariro environment.  You will also enjoy a visit to the National Trout Centre, where you can feed the trout and enjoy some snacks. For those of you feeling game enough, you can also do some cliff-jumping and swim in the river, all within a safe and monitored environment.

From Auckland or Rotorua: Hobbiton and Cave Rafting Day Trip

4. From Auckland or Rotorua: Hobbiton and Cave Rafting Day Trip

Get picked up from your accommodation or an agreed-upon meeting point in Auckland or Rotorua and set off for Hobbiton. Upon arrival, you'll have some time to get something to eat or explore the Shires Rest souvenir shop before joining a two-hour walking tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, which includes a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn.  Transfer to the movie set on one of the tour operator's buses and hear about how this set was used for all filming of both "The Lord of the Rings" and the "The Hobbit" movies. After the tour, take 15 minutes to relax in the Green Dragon Inn before traveling to Waitomo Caves. Between the two stops, you'll have time to enjoy your picnic lunch. At Waitomo Caves, join a group of up to 12 people on the Black Labyrinth tour, which includes cave tubing and caving in the river that runs through the bottom of the Ruakuri Cave. After arriving at the cave, you will be given a briefing on the art of cave tubing before starting your rafting excursion. Float through a glow-worm grotto, jump over small waterfalls, and enjoy other adrenalin-filled experiences. The tour runs about three hours, 1.5 of which are underground.  Rejoin the main transport for the day and travel to your drop-off destination. On some occasions, the activities may be reversed. After you have completed the final activity, you will be taken to Auckland or Rotorua. You can start and finish in the same place, or choose to make this a one-way journey beginning or ending in Auckland or Rotorua.

Tongariro River Grade 3 Whitewater Rafting Adventure

5. Tongariro River Grade 3 Whitewater Rafting Adventure

Experience whitewater rafting on the Tongariro River and fuel up with on-river hot chocolate and snacks. You’ll even get the chance to explore a hidden waterfall with an optional jump, weather permitting. After your trip, enjoy a hot solar-powered shower. Refuel with a complimentary “River Dog” (hot dog) accompanied by a cold beer, soda or hot mulled wine. View your trip photos that capture the thrill of your Tongariro River whitewater rafting adventure. Allow 4-hours base to base for this experience with 2 to 2.5-hours spent on the river. This activity is achievable for most people and is regarded by many as New Zealand’s must-do half-day rafting adventure.

Frequently asked questions about Waikato River Rafting

What are other things to do than River Rafting that are worth visiting in Waikato?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Waikato

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What people are saying about Waikato

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 4 reviews

So much fun - jumping down waterfalls and riding in total darkness in parts to see the glow worms. The tour operator was hilarious and we felt so safe.

This was a fantastic experience! Do note that you need to jump backwards into the water! Not for the light hearted!

A thoroughly enjoyable few hours with age range teens to sixties all accommodated.

Wonderful guides, awesome experience! Will definitely recommend to anyone.

an absolute must. Great guides, smooth set up, good gear. well worth it.