What shall it be today?

A 4.6m 8 person Incept self bailing raft?

A 3.8m 6 person Incept self bailing raft?

Maybe an Inflatable kayak?

Or what about a hand crafted wooden river dory?

River Valley Trip leaders make these decisions each day, which of a range of different boats is the most suitable on the day.. These decisions are based on river flow, the type of trip and the clientele.

A Variety of Specialised Craft for Different Conditions

For a river company operating on a number of rivers, and especially rivers that can have wildly fluctuating flows, having a variety of craft is essential.

This variety of craft allows us to match both what would be the best ride and most fun, to what is also right and safe for the current river conditions.

In general this means larger boats for high water and smaller boats for low water, with inflatable kayaks offering another whole level of fun during periods of very low water.


No, wooden river dories do not like rocky rivers and are a specialised boat for the likes of the Whanganui River only.

Then of course there are the Folks

Different Folks Can Be For Different Boats

A range of different craft also enables a range of different folk to enjoy a river trip that better suits them.

An example of this would again be the wooden river dories on the Whanganui. These beautiful boats offer a level of comfort and style unparalleled by the likes of rafts or canoes. If you want to read a book, feel comfortable having your expensive camera out taking pictures, or in the case of my mother in law, catch up on some knitting, then these boats would be the choice for you.

Just don’t try any of the above in an inflatable kayak!

The Mix and Match

On some of our trips, especially the Awesome Scenic Rafting Adventure and many of the seasonal multi day departures, a mix and match approach is the way to go.

First there may be a 4.6m raft, rowed by a guide, carrying all the gear (we don’t travel light on our overnight river trips). Accompanying that boat may be one or more 3.8m rafts carrying everybody else and utilising a mix of oars and paddles for motive power. Finally, in all probability there will be one of more inflatable kayaks that people can have a go in, paddle by themselves or with a mate, and swap around to put a bit more edge to their day.

It Wasn’t Always Like This

We were not always in this position of being able to offer both such a variety of river trips, but also such a variety of river craft. In fact it would be fair to say that this is not the industry norm.

This variety of specialised river craft has grown over the years as we experimented with different options for different conditions, trips and folks. Not all the boats we tried were a success.

The fleet these days is fairly settled in its makeup. While we do operate several rafts that don’t fit within the categories above, these boats still fit within the overall class that they are closest to.

So What Do All These Boats Mean To You?

What this range of craft means to you is that when you book a trip with River Valley, you can be assured that we are able to match the best boat to the river conditions, the type of trip you are on, and what will give you the most fun safely.

See you on the river.


Brian Megaw

A wooden river dory on the Whanganui River

You can do your knitting in one of these. A wooden river dory on the Whanganui River


4.6m raft, Max's Drop Rapid, Rangitikei River, NZ

Running Max’s Drop Rapid in a 4.6 m raft