Day 137 on the Road
Rafting on the Shotover River
Today we are joining Queenstown Rafting for a grade 4 rafting adventure! If you like this video, dive into our YouTube channel and consider subscribing!
Update: Queenstown Rafting is now called “Challenge Rafting”.
Today we are doing some white water rafting on a grade 3-4 sometimes 5 river.
Today we are going to be doing some insane white water rafting in Queenstown so we head over to the Queenstown Rafting base to check in.
Awesome so you’re gonna be doing the Shotover River so that’s your grade 3-5 and the total trip is about 4 – 4 and a half hours.
After a quick check-in we are getting a mark on our hands that tells our guide which tour we are on today and by the time we’re jumping into the bus toward the base of Queenstown Rafting where we’re gonna be given wetsuits and other gear.
We are quickly jumping into the wetsuits and then jumping into the bus that’s going to take us through the Skippers Canyon once more. That’s already four days in a row that we’ve been going through this awesome canyon. We are really pushing our luck going on what is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world. And right below we can see the river we’re gonna be rafting on today.
Once we get out of the bus we are strapping on some more layers some more gear such as a nice thick wetsuit a red splash jacket a life jacket and a helmet and then we gather up as a big group to get a bit of a safety briefing before we head out on the water.
We have been divided in separate rafts and our team is awesome we have a couple of newly weds newly engaged from the US and we have a couple of German girls as well. Our guide is named Sam he’s from Australia and he’s gonna be taking us through the whole river today. The river stars pretty tame so we have plenty of time to practice our skills get to bond together as a team and practice some commands that Same is gonna be shouting at us. he also tells us that depending on the tone of his voice we have to paddle harder so basically the louder he screams the more in danger we are and the more we have to listen and obey.
We are skillfully making our way through the rapids thanks to the skills of our guide but not everyone is as lucky as we are and we see the first flip of the tour. Among the craziness of the white water we just see all these bodies floating down the river and Sam is giving us commands to help them out, pull them up into our own boat. It’s just absolute madness but so much fun at the same time.
With the head count done and everybody accounted for we are back onto the water onto our next challenge. Sam is taking the time during this mellow part of the river to get us to introduce ourselves to our team mates and tell a little bit about ourselves. Turns out that everybody on our boat is a reader of NZPocketGuide.com which is pretty awesome they all know about the website and they are all stoked to be featured in this video. This makes our job so much easier so we don’t have to blur any faces.
The really awesome thing about white water rafting is not only about the adrenaline fuelled rapids but it’s also a really cool teamwork activity. We are having an absolute blast with our boat crew today and at the first opportunity that Sam gives us to jump into the water we waste no time hopping into that glacial Shotover River water.
For one the floating bodies are not a sign of a raft flipping but a sign of everybody wanting to have fun in the water but as soon as we get back onto the boat the rapids are ready for us once more.
We are now heading toward the next rapid on the river which is called Aftershock because it was created after a massive earthquake in the Queenstown area.
Every single rapid along the way has a different name and they are all as epic as it gets, there is Rock Garden, there is Anvil, there is The Squeeze, there is Toilet, there is Oh Shoot, there is Spinball and Sam tells us why each of them is named that way. And usually it’s a big tell on what is going to happen to us.
The anticipation before each rapid is so intense we can hear the roar of the river ahead of us. Sam is devising a strategy of how we’re going to tackle these rapids and here we go.
Most of the time inside the rapids we are being pushed left and right and we also have to jump left and right when Sam is yelling at us to do so. It’s quite crazy how we have little to no control onto the raft. The river is deciding what we’re doing and if we’re flipping or not.
Before each rapid I am just hoping that we’re not going to be next ones to flip. Robin has done this before so he just loves the organised chaos of it all when a raft flips but I have never done white water rafting until today so I am pretty nervous but the adrenaline rush is just something I have never experienced before it is so cool.
Another really awesome thing though is that you actually don’t need to have any experience to do white water rafting like this you just have to be able to work as team listen to the commands of your guide and then the rest is just so much fun.
We are just going down so many awesome really huge looking rapids. They look especially huge when you are in the raft in front of it but actually looking back they don’t actually look as big as they feel.
On the biggest rapids this is where Sam is shouting get down and this is when we know this is the big one we have to put our paddles up in the air and hold on for dear life. I just hope that Sam gets us through.
The rapids are looking even bigger because of the massive scale of the rocks around. the shear size of the mountain cliffs surrounding us is impressive and this makes the whole thing look even more epic.
Between the rapids we get the time to embrace this awesome place that we’re in. We have the vibrant blue Shotover River that we’re rafting on surrounded by these towering cliffs of the river gorge. This has to be some of the best scenery that we have seen in Queenstown and we feel so privileged to actually be able to come down here to such an isolated place and do white water rafting. The only other way to get here would be by following a wild goat track or by helicopter.
But we don’t have that much time to embrace the scenery as the next rapid is literally right around the corner.
Sam told us what we needed to do to maneuver ourselves around the massive blacks that fell into the river and created those gushing rapids and we make it through alive. This is one of the most epic white water rafting trips you can do in Queenstown. This trip on the Shotover River is grade 4 to 5 depending on the water level and there is the option to do a shorter and more tame trip on the Kawarau River which is grade 2 to 3 and on this trip we are on the river for about 2 hours maneuvering one rapid after the other. But we’re super lucky to be here at this time of the year because this trip is only available mid-September to May.
On every slow part of the river Sam is giving us more information and an insight about the area and as you know by now if you’ve been watching our other videos the Shotover River was really famous as a gold-mining area back in the days so there is heaps of gold-mining machinery half submerged into the river.
The last section of the river features the most technical rapids of the whole trip. Maneuvering this massive boat through this rapid is super technical and Sam is giving us really quick orders that we have to obey within seconds in order not to flip.
The whole team is celebrating making it through all in one piece but we are not done just yet Sam tells us there is a massive surprise waiting for us right around the corner and we can start seeing it peaking through the horizon just behind this massive rocks is a huge tunnel. This is something we were totally not expecting we are now making our way through 170m tunnel. this is the Oxenbridge tunnel and Sam is telling us with his echoey voice about this tunnel that was carved by miners back in the day. But there’s not too much time to relax because right at the other end is the waterfall this is cascading rapid that we must tackle and it’s our final rapid of the day.
White water rafting through a massive tunnel what a way to end a trip.
Sam is now getting down from his post at the back of the raft shouting us order he’s now chatting with us while we are floating toward our exit point.
We are now helping the team load the raft back onto the trailer and this requires the entire team to work together despite a few of us being a little too short to actually help.
If you do that this is a big O and that means Ok. Something that Laura doesn’t really get she’s usually like I’m alright. W? For What the Flip Laura? Didn’t you listen.