Is This Just A Load of Red Bull or Is It a Case of World Famous in Taihape?
A traveller went rafting with us the other day. The trip he did was on the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River. He was probably in his mid-30s and travelling alone.
Often, people travelling alone like this have a story about how they have ended up at River Valley. This fellow was no exception. There are numerous rafting trips one can do in New Zealand, and often easier to get to, so it is always interesting to find out why us? Of course, I need to say at this stage that we applaud him for making what we think was totally the correct decision!
He did look somewhat surprised at the question, but not as surprised as ourselves with his answer.
He came to us because extreme sports associated energy drink brand, Red Bull, said that the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River was the best rafting trip in Australasia, and one of the top 8 white water rafting trips in the world. Didn’t we know that?
Ah? Red Bull said that? Where have they said that?
On to Google – “Red Bull top rafting trips” – typed into the search bar. Yep, there we are and with quite esteemed company.
Joining the Rangitikei River in the top eight are from the USA, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, and the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho. From Africa, there is the Zambezi River that borders both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
All these rivers I am familiar with, have rafted, and feel sure they deserve their places in the list. From my own experiences, what stood out for me in the Grand Canyon was the dramatic desert canyon scenery, cool side hikes and a few very big rapids. The Middle Fork of the Salmon, on the other hand, is certainly one of the prettier rivers I have ever been on, with the style of rapid being more like what I am used to in New Zealand.
The Zambezi is big, powerful, and a heap of warm water fun. Don’t be put off by the talk of crocodiles and hippos. These are not normally an issue on the day trip. However, it does look like this great rafting trip will be drowned within the next few years with the construction of a massive dam in the Batoka Gorge. This dam will drown most of the rafting section, and no doubt drown Zambia and Zimbabwe in debt.
The other four rivers are from Europe and South America. From South America, there is the famous Futaleufu in Chile. This river is consistently rated as one of the world’s best rafting rivers. The three from Europe are the Noce River – Val di Sol section in Italy, the Sjoa River – Heidal section in Norway and the Tara River – Tara River Gorge in Montenegro. Personally, I have never been on any of these waterways so cannot comment on them.
How Accurate Is This List?
Like all the “best of” lists that clutter the internet, they all boil down to the opinion of the author or authors. No doubt some river runners would take exception to the rivers on this particular list, believing that their particular favourite river section should be on it. They may even have a point.
However, speaking for the Rangitikei River, Taihape, New Zealand, we think that the authors have got it 100% right.
The Rangitikei, one of the Top 8 for sure!