Questions and Answers

You may have questions about taking part in a River Valley experience, and cannot find the answer elsewhere on our website.
These questions may be of a technical nature, or they may simply be some concerns that you may have about booking an experience with River Valley that you need answered in order to put your mind at ease.

If you still do not find the answer here, then email our team at reception and they will find an answer for you.

Rafting FAQ’s

Fitness and Experience Required for Rafting
How fit do I need to be to take part in a Grade 5 rafting trip?
Average fitness is all that is required for someone to take part in a Grade 5 rafting trip. Enthusiasm is a critical component, with a willingness to listen to and adhere to a guides instructions.


Do I need prior rafting experience before going a Grade 5 rafting trip?
Prior rafting experience is not required before going on a Grade 5 rafting trip with River Valley. What is important is an average level of fitness and plenty of enthusiasm.

This enthusiasm is best described as a willingness to listen to and respond to your guides commands.

You do need to realise that a Grade 5 rafting trip is not some sort of fairground or amusement park ride. The unexpected can and does happen.


What is the season and daily times in which you can do a Grade 5 rafting trip?
Grade 5 rafting trips operate 364 days per year depending on weather and river conditions, and bookings. We offer no adventure activities, including rafting, on Christmas Day.

From May to mid September (winter season), only one departure per day is offered at 8.30 am. This is a morning departure as there are concerns about running out of daylight hours at this time of year for afternoon departures.

From mid September to the end of April (summer season), we offer two departures per day, one with a briefing at 8.15 am, the other with a briefing of 12.30 pm.


What time of year is the best time to go on a rafting trip?
New Zealand has a temperate climate. Where River Valley is situated, we have 4 distinct seasons, though as with much of this country, weather conditions can change rapidly – 4 seasons in one day

Expect higher flows in the winter and spring, and more technical steeper rafting in the summer and autumn.

Colder water is experienced from late Autumn through to mid Spring.

Multi day rafting and camping trips operate from mid Spring to mid Autumn.


How are rapids on rivers graded or classed?
For the full answer to this question, please follow this link to this page that describes what constitutes each class or grade of rapid under the International system.

The words, Grade or Class or interchangeable.

What Training do River Valley raft guides have?
River Valley only employ guides who have been assessed and registered with Sports Fitness Recreation Industry Training Organisation (SFRITO), and the New Zealand Rafting Association.

Many of our guides also have international guiding experience, not to mention many seasons at home. All guides are trained in First Aid and CPR.

In addition, guides carry out on site regular scenario and skill training.


What equipment or clothing do you need to provide yourself for your rafting trip?
The most important thing to bring is a keen fun attitude.

If you are on a day or shorter rafting trip, a towel and your swim suit are all you need. We cannot guarantee the safety of cameras or video equipment on the river, however on multi day and scenic trips, waterproof containers can be provided. We do not 100% guarantee the safety even then of your equipment.


What items of apparel and equipment does River Valley provide on your rafting trip?
Recognising that you want to be comfortable and warm on your adventure, River Valley provides quality equipment and apparel.

Depending on the season, when you go on the river you are supplied with neoprene boots, neoprene socks, 5mm wetsuits, polypropylene tops, polar fleece tops, paddle jackets, lifejackets, helmets, and on especially cold days, neoprene mittens. All our rafts are self bailing, and regularly updated.

On most white water trips there is also a photographer who captures those unforgettable moments.


What items should you plan on packing for a multi day river rafting and camping trip?
Before the trip departs we will send you a list of suggested items to bring on your multi day rafting and camping trip.

Remember sometimes less can be more. You really do not need to bring that much. Think warmth, think sun protection.

Horse Trekking FAQ’s

How to define a prospective riders riding ability?
We take a fairly broad view on defining someones riding ability. However it is important that people are as honest as possible about their level of ability.

It is also important to note that our horses are trained using Natural Horse Training techniques, which is in many ways quite different to traditional English style riding. On occasion, even experienced riders have found this transition difficult, whereas Beginner or Novice riders have not.

Riding Ability Categories

Beginner – reasonably confident riding a horse at a walk, a rising trot, and learning to canter.

Intermediate – confident and in control on a moving horse at all paces outside an arena, but not riding regularly.

Strong intermediate – an intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly (outside an arena) and is comfortable in the saddle for at least six hours per day.

Advanced – a frequent rider who is very fit, has an independent seat and soft hands, and is confident on a forward-moving horse at all paces over rough and variable ground on open terrain.

Are there weight restrictions for horse trekking at River Valley Stables? If there are, what are they?
There are weight restrictions if you are looking at going on a trek with River Valley Stables.

These weight restrictions are a maximum of 100 kilograms (one kilogram = 2.2 lbs) for a rider. On multi-day treks the limit is 95 kilograms. This guideline is in place for the health of the horse.

If you are heavier than this, and still wish to trek, then check with our reception team by email, or 0800 248666, to see if one of our heavier horses is presently in work and would be suitable for you..

Accommodation FAQ’s

Are pets allowed at the lodge?
We do not allow guests to bring pets (with the exception of service animals).


Is the lodge near to town?
We are located approximately 32KM from the nearest town of Taihape. Please see our ‘getting to us‘ page for full directions and a map. We recommend stocking up on any food and petrol you may need, before you drive out to the lodge.


Is linen provided in the rooms?
Linen and towels are provided in all our rooms.

Are there cooking facilities for guests?
Our restaurant serves delicious, home made, food made with fresh ingredients from our on-site gardens. Pre-booking is essential for dinner. We also have accommodation packages including meals. If you would prefer to cook for yourself then we have a communal guest kitchen for all guests to use.


Are there vegetarian options with meals at River Valley Lodge?
There are vegetarian options available with all meals at River Valley Lodge. However, we do advise that you let us know in advance of any specific dietary requirements so our kitchen can prepare the appropriate meals.

The Lodge does maintain a large onsite vegetable garden from which a great deal of fresh summer produce is sourced.

General FAQ’s

When planning a stay or hoping to take part on a trip or trek, how far in advance do you need to book?
We do encourage people to book as far in advance as is practical. Obviously this would be more likely to assure you of being able to purchase what you want, but also, and especially in the case of multi-day trips, this gives us a little more planning room.

You can book most of our trips online, or contact one of our adventure consultants by phone or email.

The online reservation system will tell you whether there is space available for which ever trek, trip or stay you are wanting. However, even if there appear to be no spaces available on the dates you would like, try contacting our reception by email or free phone 0800 248666.

In certain circumstances we may be able to add a custom departure for you.


How do you know that River Valley is a reputable company?

River Valley has been rafting on the Rangitikei River since 1982. We are fully audited by Adventuremark, the government agency responsible for overseeing the rafting industry, and undergo an annual review of company policies, practices and operations. In addition River Valley has been awarded numerous awards over the years.

River Valley Stables carry’s on a fine tradition of working with horses and the land that goes back generations within the family. River Valley has been involved with horse trekking since 1988, with many thousands of people having enjoyed the countryside of the northern Rangitikei District and often their first experience on a horse.

Visit Trip Advisor

Of course you could always just go and check out Trip Advisor to see what other people have to say. We have many people write to us with some great testimonials.


How do you know which activity is most suitable for you? Some activities can be quite demanding, so getting this right will ensure a better experience.
On both the main rafting and horse trekking pages there is a great deal of information on how to choose the most appropriate trip. For a summary, read below.

River Activities

We have an activity for almost everybody. Our Scenic Family Rafting Trips (Grade 2) are ideal for families, the less adventurous, and those wanting a slower paced interaction with nature. Our Grade 5 White Water Rafting trip is suitable for people aged 13 years and over, who have a reasonable level of fitness, and a sense of adventure.

There is a multi day river trip for almost everyone. Choose the one with the most suitable river grade.

Horse Trekking

River Valley Horse adventures are not suitable for children younger than 13 years old.

Sorry but our treks are not suitable for beginner riders.  To enjoy a trek with us you must be intermediate or more experienced.  This means you need to be confident and in control on a moving horse at all paces outside an arena, but not riding regularly.

What do if I have a health problem that could effect either myself or others with me on a trip or trek?
If you have a health condition such as diabetes, epilepsy, pregnancy, heart condition, asthma, etc, please advise us before trip departure. It is your responsibility to make sure we are aware of your condition, that you are fit enough for the activity, and that you have appropriate medication with you.

If you do not tell us, then this may put both your own safety and others on the trip in jeopardy.


What is our policy regarding illegal drugs being consumed either prior to or during a trip?
River Valley reserves the right to refuse participation in our activities to anyone suspected of consuming alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs before or during any trip. In addition River Valley is committed to operating a drug free workplace.

We will and do enforce this policy for the safety of all participants.

On multi day trips, alcohol may be consumed after the main activities of rafting, horse back riding or hiking have concluded for the day.


What is our policy regarding the consumption of alcohol either before, during or after a trip or trek?
River Valley reserves the right to refuse participation in our activities to anyone suspected of consuming alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs before or during any trip. In saying that, sharing a drink with friends after a days adventuring is one of the finer times of life.

We will and do enforce this alcohol policy for the safety of all participants.

On multi day trips, alcohol may be consumed after the main activities of rafting, horse back riding or hiking have concluded for the day.


Can you purchase Gift Cards from River Valley, and for what trips or packages?
All River Valley trips, packages and stays can be purchased as pre-paid Gift Cards. These can be a great present for Christmas or Birthdays, and not only for the more “adventurous” amongst us.

For instance, a Lodge to Lodge rafting trip can be a great way for less physically active, but still adventurous people to spend an enchanting couple of days on the river.


How long from the date of issue is a Gift Voucher valid for?
Our Gift Vouchers are published with a year expiry date on them from the date of purchase.

However in saying that, we have never refused to honour a Gift Voucher. We do want to share the hills and rivers of the Rangitikei with you, so don’t really see why you not being able to make the date should stand in the way.

If in doubt, please contact our team on reception at 0800 248666, or send them an email. Have your voucher handy as we may want to look up the details.

Have any questions?

Speak to one of our friendly adventure consultants who would love to help you out. / 0800 248666