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Whitewater Rafting Guide To River Trips

Kawarau River

Location: Near Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand

The Kawarau is the largest water volume river in New Zealand with commercial whitewater rafting trips. Flows from Lake Wakatipu range from 2,000 to 20,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). The Kawarau offers beginner Class II-III rapids. It’s close proximity to Queenstown makes this a popular half-day river trip.

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Level of Difficulty: Class II-III / Beginner

There are four significant rapids on this stretch of river… Smiths Falls, Twin Bridges, Do Little Do Nothing (named after an American guide whose name was Doolittle and “did nothing” while running the rapid back in the 70’s), and the unforgettable 400m Dog Leg. Stretches of quiet water allow ample time to practice paddling & rafting techniques. This great combination of calm stretches & whitewater make this trip a great introduction to the thrills of whitewater rafting.

Season: Year-round

The Kawarau Gorge is four miles in length. Kawarau river trips last about four hours including transfers/shuttles. River trips are available all year.