Join us on the iconic Shotover River for a whitewater rapid adventure.
Start with an unforgettable coach trip through Skippers Canyon, famous for its exciting cliff edges, enough to get your adrenaline pumping before we hit the water.
Experience grade 3–5 whitewater rapids in one of the most scenic environments in the world. The rapids can change on a daily basis but rest assured our guides are expertly trained and have a keen sense of adventure. They will guide you through canyons and help you navigate rapids. To finish you'll ride through the famous 170m Oxenbridge tunnel.
Enjoy a hot shower at Rafting Base before returning to Queenstown.
Our rafts are taking a winter holiday and will be back again at the beginning of Summer 2022.
Bring your swimsuit and towel. It is advised that you don't bring any valuables with you. We do have a small valuables locker at Rafting Base if you need it.
Wetsuit, wetsuit jacket, spray jacket, paddle, helmet, wetsuit booties and a life jacket. Along with transport, rafts, legendary guides and guaranteed epic whitewater.
"An amazing time on the amazing Shotover"24 March 2017
We had a fantastic time on the Shotover with QT Rafting. Their guides were excellent, they were extremely organised and made sure we had as much fun as possible. Our rafting guide, Kevin, was exceptional and as all the other guides were also, was very professional, friendly and safe. The river and the drive there along Skippers Canyon is beautiful. Definitely recommend this to anyone visiting Queenstown.
Visited March 2017Gerard S via TripAdvisor
"Great fun on Shotover River"25 February 2017
I had an amazing time on the Shotover River. Our guide Tim was great and brought us safely back ashore despite relatively high water levels as it was raining the night before. I can recommend the Shotover River Rafting to anyone who is looking for a thrill because it really is! Rafting this beautiful river is certainly more exciting than taking the jetboat which is another option offered. Thanks to Queenstown Rafting and Tim for the great day!Shanti10CGN, Koln, Germany via TripAdvisor
Visited February 2017
"Clear waters & Great views "25 May 2016
What a great start to the day, the Shotover River is just beautiful, crystal clear water, great views everywhere you look, big canyons. The drive in was fantastic , down into Skippers Canyon. Remember to end with a nice wine & snack at the bar/cafe over looking the river, great way to spend a few hours. Thanks team, see you next time.Xtremepetex, Gold Coast, Australia via TripAdvisor
Visited April 2016
“Exhilarating!!”25 April 2016
My husband and I had never done any white water rafting. This was so exciting and so much fun. The scenery that you pass through on the trip is quite breathtaking. The guides are very experienced and made me feel very safe. A fantastic day out. The rafting trip takes you along 16 km of the Shotover river. Thoroughly recommended!
Visited April 2016Willandgrace1, Sydney, Australia via TripAdvisor
"Thrilling Experience!"11 April 2016
A fantastically exciting bus ride down one of NZ's most dangerous 4WD tracks starts of this experience. The views were absolutely stunning as we got to see some of South Island's majestic mountains up close. Steep cliffs above and below us almost the whole way! Rafting on all levels of rapids down the beautiful blue Shotover river with a highly entertaining group of guides! And we got to see the historic gold mining and panning locations and bits and pieces of the old equipment is still lying about! Perfect for all levels of adrenaline junkies :D
Visited April 2016Neha g, New York, USA via TripAdvisor
"A New Zealand Must Do!!"14 March 2016
We did this trip as a 30th birthday experience and what an experience it was!! We chose the Shotover River rafting trip and were a little nervous as we'd never rafted before, but our nerves were forgotten as soon as we met our guide and driver! They were so fun and knowledgeable and their experience really shows!We didn't stop laughing and smiling for the entire time - this is definitely a Must Do for anyone's New Zealand trip!!Danielle S via TripAdvisor
Visited March 2016
“Awesome Day!”1 December 2014
We had a fantastic day rafting on the Shotover river. Service and knowledge from the company and instructors were top class. The flow was fantastic due to a heavy rainfall the night before we went, this made the rapids to be strong and really good to go on. We always felt safe on the rafts with the experienced instructors. We had Casey who was brilliant! The journey through skippers canyon is an experience on its own... 'supposedly the 13th most dangerous road in the world!'
Definately recommend this, definately worth the money you pay!
Visited November 2014anychalk, Northern Ireland via TripAdvisor
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.
The main difference is the grade of rapids.
The Shotover River is graded 3-5. Grade 5 is the highest grade commercially rafted in the world. This means heaps of excitement and a harder river to navigate. The Shotover River has more rapids compared to the Kawarau River, including a 170m long tunnel to navigate. We expect you to be a confident swimmer as there is a higher risk of falling out of the raft.
The Kawarau River is usually graded 2-3 however can reach grade 4 at higher water levels. This river is easier with less risk of falling out. You also have the opportunity to jump out and swim a rapid on this experience and we have recently added a cliff jumping section.
The Kawarau River is much deeper and bigger, flowing through some awesome Central Otago canyons ending with the 400 meter long Dog Leg rapid.
No, today is not your day to learn. We require water confident swimmers on the river. You may fall out and will be directed by our experienced guides to swim to safety. You will be given flotation jackets and wetsuits, but you will still need to be able to help the guides by moving towards the raft or the safety kayaker. Water confident – imagine yourself swimming in the sea with medium waves around you, if you can handle that then you should be able to handle our rivers.
No, you don’t. Everyone can enjoy rafting with zero rafting experience. We give you training and an extensive safety briefing before the experience starts. Our guides will also instruct you down the river to get you safely to the finish.
Bring your swimsuit and towel. We have hot showers at the Rafting Base and lockers should you need to lock away any personal belongings. Don’t bring your cameras or high value items, they are best left at home. However, you are welcome to bring your phone and snap away before we leave for the river.
We strongly recommend that you do. Peak season is busy, and space can be limited. If you decide on the day you want to take on the river, ring us or pop into the Camp Street store to book on an experience.
No. You are going to get wet and we don’t want you to ruin your outfit of the day. Bring your own swimwear and we will provide the rest. Please don’t wear cotton, it will make you cold. We give you a wetsuit, a jacket, a spray jacket and a life vest, if you’re cold we will have extra layers for you.
Yes, you can, however please bring a sports strap or tie as we can’t guarantee the safety of your glasses without one. If you can do without, leave them behind.
Nothing can be taken with you on the raft for health and safety reasons. Please don’t bring your camera equipment with you.
The total experience time for both rivers is 4.5 hours. However, your time on the water can vary depending on the river speed, water levels and conditions. Our rafting shuttle will be waiting for you at base to get you back to town no matter the time you return.
Our Raft Base is located on the banks of the Shotover River at Arthurs point, approximately a 10-minute drive from Queenstown. The Shotover River is found to the North of Queenstown. It will take us around 40 minutes to navigate the Skippers Canyon Road to the start point. You will then raft 14km of the Shotover River, through canyons and mountain terrain. The Kawarau River is the only outlet to Lake Whakatipu flowing east from Queenstown. We will drive for around 25 minutes passing Arrowtown to get to the rafting start point. The experience covers 8km of river, making its way through the beautiful Gibbston Valley.
The rafts carry a max of eight people including the guide. If you’re in a group, we organise that you will be seated in a raft with your pals.
Of course, we wouldn’t let you tackle our waters alone. Every raft comes with a qualified and certified raft guide, if you’re lucky you might get two! They will keep you safe and entertain you with stories and information about the areas as you go.
There is also a safety kayaker on each trip, checking the river and helping anyone who may have taken a dip.
Some medical conditions will prohibit you from rafting. It is VERY important that if you do have a medical condition that you let our staff know prior to rafting, this is not to stop you but to inform your guide, so they are prepared in the unlikely event that something does go wrong. If you need medication for you condition, e.g. asthma inhalers, you need to bring that with you.
No. We don’t offer two for ones on our trips and we don’t allow anyone who is pregnant on grade 3 or above rivers. P.S congratulations!
This is assessed on a case by case basis. We recommend you call our staff and chat with them about your needs. With notice we are able to accommodate, however your involvement will be at the discretion of the trip leader and guides.
You need to be at least 13 year old to raft with us and a minimum weight of 40kg. There is no maximum age, we just ask you to be at a good level of physical fitness. The weight limit is 120kg. We do have a number of extra-large wetsuits and small ones for the kids. It will be at the discretion of the trip leader and guides as to who is eligible to participate.
New Zealand winter is between June and early September. So opposite to the northern hemisphere.
The raft guides say, ‘We don’t pee in your clothes so please don’t pee in ours’. There are toilets at the Raft Base, please use them before departing for the experience.
We don’t have spectators on the river due to the remote location and nature of the terrain. There is an opportunity to stand near the last rapid on the Shotover River as you exit the Oxenbridge tunnel. Timings can depend on river levels so we can’t give your fans an exact time to be there.