Landsborough River Rafting

Immerse yourself in the rugged wilderness of the West Coast on a three-day guided rafting adventure. Paddle through grade 3-4 rapids of the Landsborough Valley, through dense rain forest, taking in hanging glaciers and wildlife. Three-course meals, New Zealand wine, and a helicopter flight included.  A perfect mix of tranquillity and pure adventure.

  • Trip of a lifetime for $2499pp 
  • Heli + Raft + Camp
  • Season:  December - March
  • Departs: Friday 8.30am, returning Sunday evening

2023 Dates: Every Friday from 13 January to 31 March.


More Information

Departure Location

37 Camp Street, Queenstown or Wanaka, Makarora and Haast by prior arrangement.

What’s included

  • Pre-trip briefing
  • Transfers from downtown Queenstown to Rafting Base
  • Transfer to Clarke's Bluff via Makarora
  • Scenic flight by helicopter to Landsborough
  • Full wetsuit, rafting clothing and safety equipment
  • Three-course meals, wine & beer
  • Camping equipment
  • Experienced guides and safety kayaker
  • Accommodation in tents
  • Extensive safety briefing
  • Wilderness whitewater rafting on the Landsborough River
  • Transfer/return travel to downtown Queenstown.

What to bring

  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Personal clothing and toiletries (gear list available)
  • Small amount of money for extra food and drinks at either end of the trip
  • Personal medication including for asthma and allergies
  • Please leave valuables behind.

What we provide

  • Full wetsuit rafting clothing and safety equipment
  • Camping equipment (including large tents - room to stand in).

Special notes

  • Bookings for this rafting trip cannot be made within 5 days prior to departure
  • This rafting trip operates with a minimum of 6 people
  • Suitable for water competent people of moderate fitness
  • Minimum age 15 years and over (15-17 year olds must have a guardian travel with them)
  • Minimum weight 40kgs (88lbs) | Maximum 120kg (265lbs)
  • Please note the different booking terms and conditions for the Landsborough Wilderness Experience.  Cancellation policy: 30 days before departure = full refund less your deposit of $200; Between 14 and 30 days before departure = 50% refund; and less than two weeks - No refund
  • All trips operate dependent on weather, river level and/or water temperature
  • Please allow at least 24 hours flexibility before and after this trip as delays may result from adverse weather conditions.

About the Landsborough Valley & River

The Landsborough Valley & River

The Landsborough is a major tributary of the Haast River and is unique in that it runs roughly north/south for 70kms, parallel to the main divide. Like many other New Zealand valleys, the sides are steep and of glacial origin with large fans and terraces occurring on the valley floor. 

The valley is bounded by the Solution Range to the west and its headwaters lie in the permanent snowfields of the Hooker range and the main divide near Mt Cook. From our Toetoe Flat Camp, Mount Dechen and Mount Strachan can be seen up the valley on the left side with their associated Glaciers. Mount Dechan (behind the first glacier) is 8,670 feet high and Mount Strachan is 8,400 feet high. The size of the Glaciers varies year to year depending on winter snowfall, however they remain permanent features.

The Landsborough river is frequently discoloured by fine particles of glacier dust released by snowmelt.

All forests are dominated by silver beech, however southern rata occurs on the upper slopes of Clarke Mound and on Strutt Bluff. Near the confluence of the Clarke and Landsborough Rivers, there are occasional strands of rimu and miro and matai as a rare canopy species. Halls totara and kamahi appear as a sub-canopy species throughout.

The valley is one of the richest bird faunas in South Westland. Surveys have identified 36 species. The most numerous species are the Kaka, Rifleman, Brown Creeper, Grey Warbler, Tit and Bellbird. Of special significance are the endangered Blue Duck (Whio) and the Yellowhead (Mohua).


Day 1   
8.30am We’ll start at Rafting Base in Queenstown where you will meet your guides, pack your gear into dry bags and be sized for your rafting clothing. Then there’s a spectacular three hour drive to Clarke Bluff via Wanaka and Makarora.

Here you’ll board your helicopter for a flight up the scenic Landsborough Valley to our first night’s camp.

Settle in, unpack and explore the magnificent surroundings or relax in this peaceful environment and enjoy a delicious meal prepared for you.

Day 2
Begin with a leisurely breakfast then prepare to leave camp for your rafting adventure. A full safety briefing and information on river protocol will be given before you depart. Today you have a five hour river trip ranging from action-packed to tranquil, stopping to enjoy a deli-style picnic lunch above Hellfire Rapid. You'll then continue down river arriving at Harpers Bluff, our second camp. There will be time to try out a spot of fishing or go for a walk before dinner. After dinner explore your surroundings and maybe even discover a glowworm or two.

Day 3
Another filling breakfast will set you up for the day’s activities. Board your raft and head downriver to Purple Creek for lunch and a side hike to explore the waterfalls. After lunch a leisurely float to our take out point at Clarke Bluff.  Approximate arrival in Queenstown 7.00pm.

Example menu:

Evening one

Hors-d’oeuvres accompanied by local New Zealand wines.

Mediterranean Chicken: Cooked in garlic, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil marinade. Grilled until tender over the open flame.

Rice Pilaf: An inspired Middle Eastern rice dish infused with vegetable flavours.
Tomato and onion salad: Sliced tomatoes and finely chopped red onions dressed with garlic, basil, balsamic, honey and olive oil vinaigrette.

Fresh Fruit & the secret Dutch Oven Chocolate Cake: A secret Landsborough chocolate cake recipe baked in a Dutch oven within the hot embers of the open fire. Served with a generous dollop of cream.

Evening two

Hors-d’oeuvres accompanied by local New Zealand wines.

Butterflied Leg of Lamb: Marinated in balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, rosemary and oregano. Seared to perfection on an open flamed fire.

Greek Potatoes: Lightly tossed in olive oil, rosemary, salt & pepper. Wrapped together tightly to infuse all flavours baked on hot fire embers.

Greek Salad: Fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and green peppers, dressed with garlic, oregano, and lemon juice vinaigrette. Lightly topped with crumbled feta cheese and kalamata olives. The perfect complement to the succulent lamb.

Fruit Crumble: Seasonal fresh fruits topped with nutmeg and cinnamon crumble. Served warm with a drizzle of cream.

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Safety and risk

Queenstown Rafting is a licenced operator and recognised as a leader in the field of river safety and proactive risk management. With fully qualified guides, we have a safety kayaker on every trip and use satellite telephone communications. Participation in rafting activities involves a degree of risk and the rafting operator cannot absolutely guarantee participant safety. Clients on guided tours must listen carefully to and follow guides' instructions and adhere to safety requirements. Queenstown Rafting accepts its legal responsibilities but cannot be held responsible for personal injury or for loss, theft or damage of/to your equipment outside legal responsibilities. Participants will be required to sign a liability form to this effect before starting a tour.


In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions our customers ask about our experiences. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.

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