What River Trips Are Best For A Family? It All “Depends”

As the hot days of summer start to roll in, in New Zealand, our thoughts invariably turn to having fun on and in the water. This may involve riding waves into a sandy beach, or the feel of fresh clean water as you languidly swim in a beautiful river. Summer in New Zealand equals time in and on the water.

Being a rafting company, one question we often get asked at this time of year is, what river trips that we offer are best for a family? And of course our answer is – “Well it depends”

It Depends

  • It depends on how many hours or days you have available
  • It depends on the age of your children
  • It depends on what you actually want to get out of the trip as a family


But First of All  – Why?

Why even go on a family river trip? What is the point?

Let’s be honest here. If your families idea of a good time is looking at a screen, then read no further. If however you value connecting with nature, and connecting with each other, then one of our trips could be ideal.

Oh, and did I mention, the only screen involved is what you see through your sunglasses.

Family River Trip Options

River Valley offer a number of rafting options on the Rangitikei River downstream from the Lodge that we think can answer most of the “depends”.

Let’s have a look at these.

The Awesome Family Scenic Adventure

This is a day trip that, over the warmer months, departs from River Valley Lodge mid morning. With numerous small rapids, beautiful scenery, and a picnic lunch, this trip is a fun day on the river for all the family. Inflatable kayaks may be added if there are teenagers (or adults) who want a little more excitement. A scenic drive brings you back to the Lodge by about 4.00pm. More details here.

Fantail Canyon

This could be your introduction to multi day river rafting. The trip entails a meet and greet at River Valley Lodge, (accommodation before going on the river is included in the trip price) the night before departure on the river. What follows are two fun days on the river, over nighting at a pretty riverside campsite.

We are generally back at River Valley Lodge by about 4.00pm on the second day, making this an ideal trip for a weekend. Again, inflatable kayaks can be added for extra fun.

All camping gear (with the exception of sleeping bags) and delicious meals are provided. More details here.

Mokai Canyon Three Day River Trip

The perfect trip for a long weekend, or 3 days of summer holiday.

Like all our other multi day river trips, meet and greet is at River Valley Lodge the evening before departure. Again we head downstream, having fun in numerous small rapids, going exploring on a short hike and relaxing at pretty riverside campsites.

Time on the water each day is limited to about 4 hours, plus time for lunch. Make sure you take a good book, and for those who fish, a rod.

Arrival time back at River Valley Lodge on the 3rd day is again about 4.00pm. All delicious meals and camping gear (excluding sleeping bags) is provided. More details here

Some Other Questions

What Age Can The Children Be?

We are flexible about age on these three trips, however here are some guidelines.

For the Awesome Family Scenic Adventure, we think that no younger than 3 years. At this age little guys and gals can fit all the river gear and are big enough to fearlessly float beside the raft through calm pools.

For both the multi day trips, we think a bit older is more appropriate. While we have had 5 year olds on these trips, 7 years and up is probably more suitable. However, please do contact us if you would like to talk about the suitability of the trip for your family.

Will There Be Other People On The Trip?

We generally keep our trip size small and intimate – normally no more than 10 guests plus guides. However it can be a great deal of fun to team up with another family. Who else do you know that would have fun on a trip like any of these?

What If The Weather Is Bad?

If we think that the weather or river conditions may be at all dangerous, then we will cancel the trip and give you a 100% refund or alternatively a postponement date. For other weather conditions – a few showers and so on, we are well equipped with excellent camping gear to still enjoy the trip. However again, we will work with you should the forecast look to be unpleasant.

If a river trip with the River Valley is on your radar this summer, then please send us an email – thelodge@rivervalley.co.nz or phone 0800 248666.

Here is to sunshine and fun days on the Rangitikei River.


Brian Megaw