Everything You Need To Know About Kaituna River Rafting

The Kaituna river is a world-famous destination for whitewater rafting, best known for its crown jewel, Tutea Falls
The Kaituna river is a world-famous destination for whitewater rafting, best known for its crown jewel, Tutea Falls
Phoebe Lowndes

New Zealand is a country famed for its outdoorsy approach to fun. It plays host to a plethora of activities, terrain and climates. From bungee jumping and skydiving to canyoning and heli-skiing, there’s no shortage of thrilling ways to experience the great Kiwi outdoors.

Rotorua’s North Island river

At the top of most New Zealand adventure lists is the awesome Kaituna River. A run-off from Lake Rotorua, the river flows alongside a scenic reserve, making this a natural beauty spot. However, it’s not the stunning jungle scenery and balmy temperate climate that bring people here. This river is a world-famous destination for whitewater rafting, best known for its crown jewel, Tutea Falls.

Don’t pass up the chance to go down Tutea, the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall

With a heart-pounding drop of seven meters (23 feet), Tutea is the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall. Dashing down these grade-five falls and navigating the longer course has to be the most exhilarating whitewater experience ever. Between fearsome plunges, you can rest your heart rate by taking in the scenery and swimming in deep rock pools.

River rafting on the Kaituna safely

There are a few companies operating tours on the river, so do your research before choosing one. All expeditions are led by seasoned staff with serious river credentials, and quite a lot of personality too – which comes in handy when calming nerves.

They say on average, one in every 20 boats flip on the descent over the falls. But fear not! Calmer water awaits below, and there’s plenty of time to get everybody back on board before powering on.

Located in a jungle canyon, the water is warm so you can strike freezing temperatures off the list of reasons not to do this (every little bit helps).

Rafting ability level

Thrill seekers and first-time rafters alike are welcome on these rapids. No prior experience is required, with all training and equipment provided. If you’re not planning to raft or kayak the Kaituna, the course is accessible via foot. Several viewing platforms allow spectators to join in the fun for free – and watch rafts attempting the scariest bits.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article