Thursday, 5 February 2015

Riding the rapids with Tongariro River Rafting: Taupo, New Zealand.

We are staying at Lake Taupo, in the North Island of New Zealand.

David doesn't like water and is not a strong swimmer.  Persuading him to join me on a whitewater rafting trip wasn't easy. The fact that he not only did it but loved it is a testament
 to the guys at Tongariro River Rafting.

Their Family Float Tour has lots of gentle floating past the beautiful Tongariro River scenery interspersed with a few adrenalin pumping rapids. D hung on bravely through the rapids - I loved them. I chose the Grade 2 rafting trip.  Tongariro River Rafting also do a Grade 3 but I didn't want to push my luck. I'm not sure there is such a thing as Grade 1 but  I'm pretty certain David would have opted for that had it been offered.

We started the tour by suiting up in wetsuits, life-jackets, and crash helmets. The helmets were a bit of a worry - I was hoping they were just for abundant caution. Then a quick drive to the river where Jason, our guide, gave us a couple of pointers on how to paddle. I grew up next to a lake and spent my childhood mucking about in row boats so I consider myself pretty much an expert in all things nautical.  It took David, the landlubber, to point out that I had my paddle the wrong way around - Ooooppps!


Photo courtesy of Tongariro River Rafting


Within minutes of casting off we became wedged on some rocks. It turned out that our raft was quite new and had a 'sticky' bottom causing it to stick fast to any obstacle. Jason jumped into the water to give us a push  - a moment of heart failure - what would happen if he let go? Get a grip Lyn, the river is only a couple of feet deep. He didn't let go - of course. He was back in the boat so fast we barely knew he'd left.

The next heart failure moment was our very first rapids.

"Paddle, stop, hang-on, back paddle. Be ready for a bump, we're about to hit the bank hard and turn." - Jason issued commands as we tossed and tumbled across the rocks and through the whitewater.

D looked like he was having fun. I know I was. Jason was all calm and professional. I'm pretty sure his commands were superfluous. He could have steered us through without any help but it was fun to feel we were doing our bit.

Photo courtesy of  Tongariro River Rafting

After surviving our first set of rapids we floated lazily for a while - time to recover, take in the surroundings, see a trout leap high out of the water and learn a little about the local birdlife.

Then more rapids  - more excitement - more floating - more rapids - more excitement - ........

After an hour and a half we pulled in to the bank. This was our pick-up point. We had rafted the whitewater and survived! Next year we're returning for the Grade 3.

Photo courtesy of Tongariro River Rafting

Notes:

I wish D and I were as photogenic as the people in the photos but we're not - so, sorry, that's not us - but the guy at the back is Jason, our very friendly and capable guide.

D and I received a complimentary tour with Tongariro River Rafting but we had a ball and I would recommend this to absolutely anyone.


Practical Information:

Tongariro River Rafting offer a two and half hour Grade 3 rafting trip as well as the more sedate one and a half hour Family Float. They also offer fishingmountain bikingovernight rafting and combination tours. 

The tour starts from Turangi, about a 35 minute drive from Taupo.

Website: http://trr.co.nz/
Telephone: (07) 386 6409   0800 10 10 24
E-mail: info@trr.co.nz





48 comments:

  1. Looks great fun, I've done this once in Canada and think I prefer the land too! #wkendtravelinspiration

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  2. A very brave enterprise! I played with the idea of whitewater rafting for a while a few years ago, but never did it. We had a tour scheduled at some point, but the entire trip got cancelled. It must have been quite an experience.

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    1. Hi Anda, If you are ever in New Zealand I can highly recommend the Family Float trip - it is very much a gentle introduction to whitewater rafting. D and I did a canoe trip a few years ago in the Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania which was similar - lots of gentle floating interspersed by the odd heart-stopping moment.

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  3. I haven't been rafting in quite a few years. I miss it. Looks like fun!

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    1. Hi Corinne, It was terrific fun. Now I just have to persuade D to do it again.

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  4. This sounds like great fun, but I am not sure I would be brave enough! :D

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    1. I'll admit I was a bit trepidatious at first but after the first set of rapids I realised we were pretty safe.

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  5. Congrats on your rafting experience, Lyn, and thanks for sharing! Looks like the adrenalin was really pumping!

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    1. Hi Doreen. The whole thing was just terrific fun.

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  6. Though I don't enjoy river rafting myself, I did enjoy tagging along with you in this post about Tongariro River Rafting. :)

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    1. Hi Carole, Thanks. It really was whitewater for whimps. If you are ever in New Zealand you should give it a go.

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  7. I tried rafting last year for the first time - and now I'd love try it again. This place looks fab!

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  8. I have always felt like D, but if he had a great time maybe, if I have the opportunity, I'll give it a try!!

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    1. Hi Marilyn. D is really not a water person despite having grown up in Sydney only a few hundred metres from one of our most beautiful beaches but he loved it.

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  9. I'm not sure about rapids and white water but we did buy 2 kayaks yesterday for a bit more adventure.

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    1. We've kayaked a few times at resorts but it's a bit too brutal on the elbows for us to do much. Hope you get lots of use out of them.

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  10. Your pictures really capture the fun and excitement of your rafting trip!

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    1. Hi Irene, I would love to take credit for them but I can't. Unless it is water-proof you can't take a camera. The tour people take photos from the bank and send you digital copies.

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  11. I'm not comfortable in water unless my feet can touch bottom with my head well above it, so I would be looking for the Grade 0 if I went whitewater rafting, but the folks in your photos look to be having a great time.

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    1. Hi Donna, I defy almost anyone not to have had a terrific time doing this - I am a strong swimmer but the river wasn't more than a few feet deep.

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  12. Tongariro is a beautiful part of New Zealand I remember going there as a child. It looks like great fun I hope I have the courage to try one day

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    1. Hi Michele. Yes it is a lovely part of the world. After our rafting trip we cycled along the river trail and just soaked up the scenery.

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  13. Tongariro River Rafting sounds like they do a great tour, which no-rafter me was happy to join vicariously. :)

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    1. Hi Carole, I'm glad you enjoyed reading about it.

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  14. I love rapids especially above 3+, this looks excellent!

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    1. Hi Noel, Next time we are in New Zealand I'm definitely doing the 3 - not sure how I'm going to get D to agree to that but I'll figure something out - lol.

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  15. It always feels good to successfully complete a challenge that is out of one's comfort zone. Looks like you had a great time.

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  16. Love whitewater rafting! Great mix of fear and fun.

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    1. You're right - fear, fun, outdoors, great scenery and great company what more can a person want.

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  17. Keeping this in mind next time I go to NZ. I white water rafted the Zambezi River in Africa - crazy! And it was my first time white water rafting. Nothing like jumping in the deep end.

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    1. Hi Malinda, I think what we did was probably a bit more tame than the Zambezi - just the name sounds death-defying.

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    2. It was - the names of each individual rapid is terrifying! Thanks for linking up with #wednesdaywanderlust today

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  18. We spent a lot of summers camping and whitewater rafting on some of Montana's rivers and LOVED it! I so enjoyed reading about your adventure, taking my own trip down memory lane and riding along with you vicariously!

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    1. Hi Anita. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. D and I love the US. We're off to Alaska later in the year and then down through Canada and Glacier National Park in Montana.

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  19. Looks like you had a blast! I've been white water rafting in Thailand, Santa Fe, and South Carolina (where I got totally soaked!). I will definitely try it again if I get to Taupo.

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    1. Hi Patti, We had a great time. It is one of those things you just want to do again.

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  20. I'm a pretty strong swimmer, but I'm with David. So, if he enjoyed the experience after all, maybe I would too. My husband have found paddling kayaks and canoes together to be a bit of a strain on our marriage, but maybe with a guide in the back compensating for our mistakes we'd do ok. Nice review.

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    1. Hi Suzanne, I know what you mean about the 'strain on the marriage'. D and I don't argue much but in the interests of keeping our relationship strong we have agreed never to go hobby-catting together again - lol.

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  21. How fun! I love going down rapids. I'm always terrified when I start, but once I relax its so much fun.

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    1. Hi Adelina, You're right - the first few minutes were quite scary. After that it was exhilarating.

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  22. Amazing day out! I've tried rafting once and loved it, can't wait to do it again! New Zealand looks like the ideal place for it. Thanks for joining Weekend Travel Inspiration t!

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    1. Hi Margherita. I think rafting must be addictive. Having finally had a go at it I'm like you can't wait to do it again.

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  23. You are so adventurous Lyn! I love reading your travel stories every week. I am not so sure I could white water rafting but I am sure if the opportunity arose, I would probably give it a go. Thanks for linking up at Mum-bo Monday

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    1. Hi Kelly, What we did was pretty tame but terrific fun all the same. Just about anyone under 90 could do it I think.

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  24. On 11 February 2015 Bec wrote

    "This sounds incredible! I think we'd have to ditch our 2 and 4 year old first. #TeamIBOT"

    I have had to remove the original comment because it contained a broken link. My apologies to Bec

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