A Queenstown white water rafting adventure

by Stephanie - 23/11/2009 16:21:00

Hold on tight: rafting Shotover River. 

Kate McPhee's top 10 things to do in New Zealand included white water rafting and she braved the challenging Queenstown Rafting trip down the white waters of the Shotover River through the tight corners, twists, turns and cliff edges of the old mining canyon.

I’ve always thought I was someone who pushed the boundaries, stepped out of my comfort zone and tried to live life to the limits, but just quietly I am a bit of a chicken. Having grown up on the East coast of Australia, I’ve lived in the water so when my friend ask me what were the top 10 things I wanted to tick off my list in New Zealand,  I knew that whitewater rafting was right up there.

When I arrived in Queenstown, known as “the adventure capital of the world”, I was quite nervous just thinking about what my friend had in store for me. There are so many things to do in this town; it’s crazy and also quite overwhelming. Although I’d love to do them all, the content of my wallet disagrees. I don’t mind using that excuse when I get asked if I want to through myself off a bridge, but the one activity that I was without a doubt doing was rafting the Shotover River.

We arrived at Queenstown Rafting shop to check in and the bus took us out to the rafting base where we were to get changed into the most horribly unattractive piece of equipment ever, the wetsuit!

There are so many things to do in Queenstown; it’s crazy and also quite overwhelming. Although I’d love to do them all, the content of my wallet disagrees.
Once we got over the fact that we were doomed to look ridiculous for the next four hours, we jumped on a bus into the river. What I ride, I’ve never had so much adrenalin running through my body on a bus. The only way to drive to the river is through Skippers Canyon; an old gold mining road that has sheer drop offs and rock ledges that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

We arrived at the river and the trip leader proceeded to tell us all the ins and outs of rafting. All I could think about was how am I going to move in this wetsuit?

We meet our guide who is hilarious, I didn’t stop laughing the whole time and even though I’m a confident swimmer it’s still nice to feel as though I’m in safe hands. As we get closer to the big rapids you feel the build up of nervous energy in your stomach as you hear the roar of the whitewater to come. As we approached the rapid I realised I’d forgotten everything the guide had taught us earlier. The whitewater hits my face and the guide is shouting “forward paddle”.

Suddenly I remember what it is I’m meant to be doing. I looked over at my friend as we were paddling through the rapids and she had the biggest grin on her face. I was asked to help the instructor guide the raft from the front of the boat as we entered a 170 meter long tunnel.

In complete darkness, everyone else was on the floor of the raft but I was sitting on the front listening for when the guide wanted me to paddle. We reach the end of the tunnel and get completely submerged in the white water at the last rapid of the day.

What a brilliant way to finish the trip, all I wanted to do was go back to the top and do it all over again.

- Got a must do New Zealand working holiday adventure experience like white water rafting with Queenstown Rafting?  Comments!

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03/02/2010 08:29:48

Queenstown is one of the most beautiful cities in New Zealand and my family has visited many times. Sadly, we have never experienced white water rafting but its on our list of "must-do's". During a summer visit a few years ago, we hired wakeboards and cruised the Shotover River. Very cold but very enjoyable!


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