Location: New Zealand’s North Island near Taumarunui
The Tongariro River is fed by tributaries that drain Mount Tongariro and Mount Ruapehu in the Ruapehu District of New Zealand’s central North Island. The Tongariro eventually flows into Lake Taupo. Nearby towns include Taumarunui, Whakapapa Village, and Ohakune. There are numerous rafting outfitters around Lake Taupo offering tours on the Tongariro River.
Level of Difficulty: Class III / Beginner
The Tongariro River is rated Class III , with over 60 rapids in just 2 hours of rafting! It is a good choice for families, beginners, and thrill seekers alike. The rapids are non-stop, fun, and exciting but not too dangerous or intense.
The Canyon and Wildlife: Volcanic Canyon with Trout Fishing
Aside from being a popular rafting destination, the Tongariro is most famous for its trout fishing. Rafters will spot numerous Rainbow and Brown trout darting around in the river’s crystal clear waters as they navigate their way downstream. Another likely wildlife sighting is the rare native blue duck, also known as the “Whio.” Because the central plateau of the North Island of New Zealand was formed by huge volcanic upheavals, the Tongariro River cuts through dramatic limestone and volcanic cliffs as it winds its way through the ancient beech forests of Tongariro National Park.
The Season: Year-round
Whitewater rafting on the Tongariro is available year-round, with more starts available during the summer.