How To Find The Right Family Rafting Trip

Peter had this to say about the trip.

“The total sense of isolation and wilderness began within 10 minutes of launching the rafts, and lasted until we saw some fishermen an hour before reaching the take-out site.

This was exactly what we had been looking for when researching a rafting experience for our family. Although we were only away for two days we felt we had been on a big adventure, and at times it felt like we were exploring uncharted territory!”

Why the thought of an Family Adventure Rafting Trip can be Overwhelming

For many families the thought of being part of an adventure rafting trip is overwhelming. It is like being an explorer in uncharted territory. A myriad of questions, anxieties and concerns rise up and in most cases cause the project to be abandoned.

This is a missed opportunity, as most of those concerns can easily be answered.

Let’s have a look at some of those concerns.

1. Allaying Concerns about Safety
2. Unfamiliarity with what is involved
3. Finding the right company to work with
4. Too wet, too cold, too unsafe

How to Allay Your Concerns about Safety

A little research goes a long way when thinking about a family adventure rafting trip. Most of this research can easily be done online, but you need to know what elements to look for.

The first of those elements to look for is the Grade of river that is going to be rafted. This information about the Grade will give you an idea of what to expect in the form of rapids.

Our Recommendation

Our recommendation is that if your family includes children under 10 years, then a Grade 2 trip will suffice. If the children are younger teenagers, then up to Grade 3, while we would recommend Grade 4 to 5 only for older teens and adults.

The second element is ensuring that the company you are going with has appropriate equipment and good safety standards. Look for testimonials from past clients to put your mind at ease here.

As Peter Ennis says after a family trip he was recently on;

“A highlight was watching the skill with which our guides navigated the rapids and the braided river channels. They made it look easy, but their experience and strength was a constant reassurance.

It was great to be in the company of such experienced people who were informative, fun and extremely capable. They were great with the teenagers too, giving them enough guidance to keep them safe but trusting them to find out the rest for themselves.”

Are You put off by your Unfamiliarity with what is Involved with a River Trip?

It is easy to be daunted by the prospect of organising a family raft trip. Quite likely you are unfamiliar with what is involved, and somewhat concerned about the mechanics of how everything works.

Our Advice about Finding the Right Company to Work With

Search online and read testimonials and reviews to find a reputable company and book with them. Companies such as River Valley in New Zealand, or Dvorak Expeditions in the USA have literally decades of experience in organising fun and safe river trips for families.

This experience really shows through if you get them involved early in your planning process. Let them know what you hope to achieve from the trip, what concerns you have, and then let it unfold from there.

You may be surprised at how stress free it all is.

Camping, Rivers and the Outdoors is all too Wet, Cold and Unsafe

You read the newspapers. You watch the TV. All this adventure business is about being cold and wet , but most of all unsafe. Quite believable, but untrue.

Our advice is again simple. Follow the suggestions above, and you will find that this will go a long way to ensuring you have an extraordinary experience that you will treasure for always.

The Ennis and Jones families say it best:

“As parents, we trusted the guide’s judgements and never felt our children were in danger. Our children say what they liked most was the thrill of the white water: the sense of danger and the need to react quickly to stay in control.

There was an overriding feeling that our guides loved what they were doing and that the trip was as much fun for them as it was for us. It felt as though we were all in it together rather than it being just a routine day at work for them.”

The Story About Passion, Not Routine

River guides seldom have routine days at work. The reason for this is that it is not work, it is passion.

Follow the simple suggestions above and your family could share the passion, the fun and the camaraderie that professional guides feel every working day that comes from sharing the magic of a river.

A highlight for me was seeing a falcon on both days. I’ve wanted to see this rare bird ever since moving to New Zealand and to see one twice in two days was such a thrill. It brought home to me just how isolated and undisturbed an area we were rafting in.

The approach to River Valley filled us with anticipation as we drove deeper into the Ruahine Range and eventually descended into the Rangitikei Valley and found the lodge nestled beside the river. The setting is stunning and the buildings are in harmony with their surroundings.

We were immediately given a warm welcome by the owner Brian and made to feel at home. All the staff and volunteers were really friendly and the food was excellent.

It was a 4 hour drive down from Cambridge, and the thought of another 1.5 hour drive to the put in the following morning wasn’t great. However, the scenery was impressive and it was new country for us so the journey didn’t seem that long.

As soon as we were on the river the added travel time to the Ngaruroro Valley was instantly forgotten. It was the same on the way home: the extra time in the minibus was a small price to pay for the splendour and isolation of the Ngaruroro Valley. We were on such a high that our drive back to Cambridge that evening flew by amid recounts of falling out of rafts, camping in the wilderness and navigating braided river channels.

The highlights for us were:

· The total sense of isolation and wilderness that began within 10 minutes of launching the rafts and lasted until we saw some fishermen an hour before reaching the take-out site. This was exactly what we had been looking for when researching a rafting experience for our family. Although we were only away for two days we felt we had been on a big adventure, and at times it felt like we were exploring uncharted territory!

· Camping on a boulder-strewn terrace on a bend in the river, surrounded by Manuka scrub, with cliffs above us and water racing by. Add to this the freedom to pitch our tents wherever we chose, the feeling that it had been a long time since anyone else had camped here, and the reassuring ease with which our guides set up camp and cooked a great meal while we rested our tired bodies. A truly memorable end to a fantastic first day’s rafting.

To read more of what Peter has to say about their rafting experience on the Ngaruroro River, please click here