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Whitewater Rafting Guide To River Trips

Motu River

Location: North Island of New Zealand near Gisborne

The Motu River flows through the Raukumara Range, southeast of the Bay of Plenty on the North Island of New Zealand. Rafting trips on the Motu River typically leave from either Gisborne or Opotiki.

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Level of Difficulty: Class III-V / Beginner – Intermediate

The Motu River can range from Class III to Class V, depending on water level. During most stages, the river is Class IV. Whitewater rafting trips on the Motu range from three to five days in length, so they are perfect for those who want to find an adventurous overnight journey on New Zealand’s North Island. Beginners are welcomed by most outfitters, but should be physically fit and ready for some excitement.

The Canyon: Free Flowing River in a Deep Gorge

The Motu River is the North Island of New Zealand’s last dam free river, and flows from its source high in the Raukumara mountains 100 kilometers down to the Bay of Plenty. The rugged region through which the Motu River runs was the last area of New Zealand to be mapped, and much of it still remains a mystery. Rafting the Motu is thus a true wilderness adventure, taking boaters through deep gorges of sandstones, mudstones, and breccias lined with the majestic trees of virgin native forest. Along the way, the Motu’s exciting whitewater churns itself into fun Class III and IV rapids with names like “Bullivant’s Cascade”, “The Motu Slot” and “Double Staircase.”

Season: Year-round

The Motu River can be run year-round, but interested adventurers should be in contact with outfitters regarding flows before deciding on a specific date.