Location: North Island, New Zealand near Rotorua
The Kaituna River is located a short fifteen minutes from Rotorua. The Kaituna flows from Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti into the Bay of Plenty near Te Puke on the North Island of New Zealand.
Level of Difficulty: Class IV-V / Intermediate
The Kaituna is rated Class V, but this rating is given mostly because of two large waterfalls that boats can run. The Kaituna River is most famous for a rapid called Tutea Falls, a seven meter drop that is the highest commercially-rafted waterfall in the world. There are several other steep drops on the run, and seven fun Class III rapids in between. The river is actually mostly Class III-IV, and there are long pools after each steep drop, making it a relatively mellow river compared to others with a Class V rating. Beginners with a good sense of adventure are welcomed by most companies.
The Canyon and History: Deep Gorges with Native Maori Caves
The Kaituna flows through a lush, bush and fern-lined gorge that is of high cultural importance to the native Maori peoples. Behind Tutea Falls people can find caves that were once used to hide women and children during tribal wars, and later as the burial ground for Chief Tutea. The river’s deep gorges are home to unique vegetation that grows only in such deep and moist environments. The intimate nature of this gorge has the ability to make one feel as if they are worlds away from civilization.
Whitewater rafting trips are available on the Kaituna River 364 days a year, with the exception being Christmas Day.