What Makes The Grade 5 Section of the Rangitikei River Such A Great Rafting Trip?

The Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River on the central North Island is often called New Zealand’s best half day white water rafting trip.


Lets have a look at the main features:

  • The section is 11km in length meaning between 2 and 2 1/2 hours on the water at normal flows. For many people this duration is just right.
  • The shuttle to the Put In from River Valley Lodge is only 25 minutes, while the finish point is at River Valley Lodge. To walk off the river and into hot showers is a huge bonus! No need to get changed on a river bank.
  • The section starts easy. That is numerous Grade 2 and 3 rapids. This gives you plenty of time to get used to riding in a raft and familiar with the guides instructions.
  • After this easier section you are ready to tackle the big stuff! The major rapids are concentrated in the second half of the trip and you are ready for them!
  • There are 10 major rapids in the second half of the trip ranging from Grade 3+ to Grade 5. – more major rapids than any other comparable trip.
  • After these major rapids there is a section of six Grade 3 rapids, perfect to wind down before arriving at the Lodge.

Of course all this is only about the rapids.

Other points worthy of note are:

  • The beautiful scenery – make sure to take some time out and check it out while you drift through a pool
  • The feeling of remoteness – the 1st town is a good days walk away
  • You can drink the water. How cool is that!
  • The final point is this river rafting trip is so much fun!

Finally, I would like to share this quote from Graham Charles’s best selling book, “New Zealand WhiteWater: 180 Great Kayaking Runs”. A book primarily for kayakers, but you will get the idea.

“If there is one single river with every ingredient for the evolutionary recipe of trip into epic into story into legend, it is the Rangitikei.. Take one reasonably accessible yet wild river flowing through a spectacular, deep gorge. Add several challenging drops and one extremely cool play hole. Attach a large catchment that causes the river to rise and fall dramatically in short periods of time. Put a lodge, hot showers, big open fire place and a bar at the take out. Jobs On”


Brian Megaw

Fu Fang Falls Rapid, Rangitikei River, New Zealand