Water activity

Queenstown: Kawarau River Rafting and Jet Boat Ride

4.6 / 5

32 reviews

Activity provider: RealNZ

Queenstown: Kawarau River Rafting and Jet Boat Ride

Activity provider: RealNZ
Likely to sell out

From US$ 138.68 per person

Likely to sell out

Is it your first time rafting? The Kawarau River is ideal if you are looking for a more relaxed rafting experience. Enjoy a scenic, playful, and fun adventure including a thrilling jet boat ride to the launch site.

About this activity

Free cancellation
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details.
Duration 4.5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.


  • Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting on the beautiful Kawarau River
  • Enjoy plenty of whitewater action and time to soak in the spectacular scenery
  • Take on New Zealand's longest commercially rafted rapid
  • Discover stunning scenery used as film backdrops in major motion pictures
  • Start your adventure with a thrilling high speed jet boat ride
Full description
Raft the Kawarau River, perhaps better known as the River Anduin in Lord of the Rings, for a great half-day activity in Queenstown This is a perfect introduction to whitewater rafting for first-timers. There will be plenty of rapids action plus time to sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Catch the free shuttle from the centre of town out to the raft base where you will be fitted out with all your gear. From there, head back into the heart of Queenstown to catch your jet boat transfer. Take on the beginning 22 km of the Kawarau river at 95 km/h with thrilling 360-degree spins as you arrive at the rafting station. Your rafting adventure covers 8-kilometers of the river. Take on grade 2-3 rapids and perhaps the occasional grade 2-4 rapid, when there are higher water levels. These are usually easier to navigate and there is less risk of falling out. Enjoy flat stretches of river between the rapids where you have the opportunity to race your friends on the other rafts or jump out and swim. Keep an eye on the other rafts, as there is a good chance of a water fight. Conclude your adventure by rafting the longest commercially rafted rapid in New Zealand, the Dog Leg. This is a 400-meter long and grade 3/4 rapid. Add some extra excitement by joining in on the optional cliff jumping section, or sit back and watch your friends take a leap.
  • Roundtrip bus transfer between Queenstown and the rafting base
  • 40-minute jet boat transfer (optional)
  • 2-hour rafting experience on the Kawarau River
  • Experienced rafting guides
  • Extensive safety briefing
  • All rafting and safety equipment including wetsuit, wetsuit jacket, spray jacket, paddle, helmet, wetsuit booties, and life jacket
  • Hot showers
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Food and drinks
Not suitable for
  • Children under 13 years
  • Pregnant women
  • People with back problems
  • People with heart problems
  • People over 264 lbs (120 kg)
  • People under 88 lbs (40 kg)
  • Non-swimmers

Select participants and date



Meeting point

Please arrive 20 minutes in advance.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Swimwear
  • Towel

Not allowed

  • Cameras

Know before you go

  • This activity is not suitable for those who weigh less than 40-kilograms and those who weigh more than 120-kilograms, pregnant women, those who are less than 13-years-old, or those with a heart condition (or taking heart medication)
  • All participants must sign a waiver form
  • Rafters under 16-years-old must have a guardian traveling with them and all rafters under 18-years-old must have a waiver form signed by a guardian
  • Rafters must be water-confident, able to swim in fast-moving water, and agree to carefully follow instructions from the guides
  • Participation in rafting activities involves a degree of risk and the rafting operator cannot absolutely guarantee participants' safety
  • The rafts are large enough to carry six or seven people plus your rafting guide
  • The rafting operator reserves the right to refuse participation and cancel or amend any trips due to river, road, or weather conditions or insufficient numbers in the interest of all rafters’ safety
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.6 /5

based on 32 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

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Really exciting and enjoyable ride on the jet boats to reach the start of the rafting experience. It was really nice to be in a relatively small group (16 people) and the guides were friendly and made the rafting fun. We enjoyed the optional cliff jumping and floating down the more gentle river sections as well as the main rafting activity and the time went by really fast. The transportation and distribution of wetsuits etc was well organised too.

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January 22, 2023

Great fun!

Very well organised and safety a high priority. All staff were friendly and knowledgable. Arrived, signed in and taken by bus to be kitted out; wet suit, wet suit jacket socks, boots and gloves. Also waterproof jacket, life vest and helmet. At jet boat given buff, beanie hat and goggles, so no problem with staying warm. Jet boat great fun. White water rafting was so much the highlight though and included optional cliff jumping and swimming down the more gentler rapid. Staff have your safety as their priority at all times. Paddling through the rapids was brilliant fun and would highly recommend.

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July 5, 2019


If you do one thing in Queenstown, go white water rafting! Don't be scared of the cold, they give you all the gear you need to keep warm. It was honestly an amazing experience and my favourite part of my trip. The Go Orange team was amazing (Tuscany was our guide and he was awesome), and my friends and I had so much fun. Do it.

July 1, 2019

Product ID: 185378