What do I need to bring and what clothes do I need to wear?

Wear your normal clothes to the raft base and bring a towel and swimsuit to change into before going rafting. You’ll also need some money for after the trip if you want to buy photos or an alcoholic drink to go with your BBQ.


I’ve never rafted before. Is this a problem for the Grade 5 trip?

No – as long as you have a basic level of fitness and swimming ability, you can come rafting on the grade 5 trip. The river is great because it starts out flat and allows time for instructional and safety training. We do stop before the grade 5 rapids. That way, people who prefer not to run the big ones can walk around them with our photographer.


Do I need to know how to swim for the Grade 5 trip?

You need to be ‘water confident’ to run the grade 5 rapids! If you are not confident, you can still take part in the Grade 1-3 rapids, but you will be asked to walk around the grade 5 sections with our photographer. One way to describe ‘water confident’ is to imagine yourself swimming in the sea and being tumbled around by waves. If you feel comfortable with this, you considered water confident and should be ok to run the big ones.


Do I have to be able to swim for the Grade 2 trip?

If you’re coming on our Lower Rangitata Grade 2 Adventure, swimming is not a necessity as the rapids are much gentler.


Is there a minimum/maximum age or weight limit?
For the grade 5 trip, the minimum age is 13 years and the minimum weight is 40kg. For the grade 2 trip, the minimum age is 5. There’s no maximum age or weight limit for any of our trips, however you will need to be able to fit our wetsuits and lifejackets. We do have extra-large gear, but we ask that you are physically fit and able to swim to come on our grade 5 trips. If you have any questions, get in touch.


What time do I need to arrive, and what time can I expect to leave?
Please aim to be at our base 10 minutes before your trip’s start time to sign in. If you’re rafting in the morning, you’ll be all ready to leave by 12:30pm. And if you’re rafting in the afternoon, you’ll be finished by about 5:30pm, depending on the day.


What gear does Rangitata Rafts provide?
We provide all of the rafting and safety gear, including thermals, fleeces, wetsuit, windbreakers, booties, floatation vests and helmets.


Can I bring my camera/phone on the raft?
We recommend not to bring any cameras as they can get damaged or lost. Our professional photographer will follow you down the river, capturing all the action on camera. You can purchase the photos at the end of the day or book your early bird photo pack to save money.


How many people fit in each raft?
We can fit seven customers and one guide in each raft. We do our best to keep groups together. And if you’re part of a larger group, we try to split people up as evenly as possible.


How often do people fall out of the boat, or the boat flips, on the grade 5 trip?
We don’t plan to fall out or flip, but we are doing a real adventure activity out in Mother Nature. Sometimes people do fall out and the boat flips, especially in the grade 5 section. But we’ll give you a thorough safety briefing on the day, and our guides are trained to deal with situations like this. We also have a safety kayaker on every Grade 5 Gorge trip.


Can I wear sunglasses/prescription glasses or contacts?
Yes, you can, however it’s at your own risk. We recommend you have a sports strap. If you don’t have one of those, we can give you some trusty string to help keep them on.


When’s the best time to come rafting?
Any time from October – April. Our river never gets too low as it’s fed from a glacier, so we always have grade 5 rapids.


How cold is the water?
It’s refreshing – it comes from a glacier after all. But we give you all the gear you need to stay warm.


Will the trip go if it’s raining?
Yes, we raft come rain or shine. We only cancel trips for safety reasons, ie if the river gets too high. We ask that you contact us the day before to confirm your trip is going ahead.


What’s the minimum and maximum number of people you can take on a trip?
For safety reason, the minimum is four people on the Lower Rangitata Grade 2 trip and six people on the Rangitata Gorge Grade 5 trip. The maximum we can take is 70 people in one group.


Do the rafts run on rails and do I get a seat belt?
Nope, it’s not Disney Land. We’re in Mother Nature’s playground – sometimes the boat flips and people fall out.


Is the river salt water?
No! It comes from the mountains and gravity has a part to play in keeping the ocean where it is!


Can I raft if I’m pregnant?
Not on the grade 5 trip. However, you can raft on the grade 2 adventure.


Can I raft if I have a disability?
We’ll need to assess this on a case-by-case basis. We recommend you call our staff and have a chat with them about your specific needs. Generally, we are able to accommodate most people, as long as we are given plenty of notice. Ultimately though, your involvement will be at the discretion of the trip leader and guides who will be able
to assess the conditions on the day and inform you of any potential safety concerns.


Can I raft if I have a medical condition?
Some medical conditions will stop you from rafting – mainly spinal injuries and serious heart conditions as cold water and adrenaline aren’t a good combination. Most other conditions shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you do have a medical condition, you must tell the trip leader on arrival and bring along any medication you need on the day. This isn’t to stop you rafting – it’s to inform our guides so they can help you in the unlikely event of something going wrong.


Will I get wet?
Yes, most definitely! But you will be wearing a wetsuit and warm gear that we provide.


What happens if the trip gets cancelled on the day?
If we have to cancel your trip due to safety reasons, we’ll try our best to let you know the night before, so you can rearrange your plans. You can move your booking to another day or get a refund if your out of time. NB: As part of our terms and conditions, we ask you to call us at least 24 hours before the departure time of your trip to check it’s still going ahead.


Do we finish where we start?
We do, but the river doesn’t. We get changed at our raft base before and after the trip, so you can leave your belongings there.


Do you take cash/credit card/EFTPOS?
Yes, all of the above.


How can I book/pay for the trip?
You can book and pay in full online. You can also book over the phone and use your credit card details to hold the booking. You can then pay for your trip in full on the day. All group bookings and packages that include accommodation must be done over the phone. NB: We recommend booking a couple of days in advance as our trips are popular.


I want to book a group event. Do we all have to do the same rafting trip or can some of us do the Grade 5 and others do the Grade 2?
If you’re booking as a group, it is possible to book different trips. However, the whole point of coming on a group adventure is to be with your group. In light of that, we can tailor the Grade 5 Adventure to suit your group. Offering a great mix of exciting rapids ranging from grades 1–5 and calmer sections, our Grade 5 Adventure is perfect for groups of all abilities. And if some people don’t fancy tackling the grade 5 Gorge section, there’s the option to walk around it with our photographer.


I’ve booked my early bird photo pack. How many photos do I get and what format are they in?
If you’re doing the Grade 5 Adventure, you get 60-70 photos. And if you’re doing the Grade 2 Adventure, you get about 20 photos (because the trip and the river section you cover isn’t as long). All our photos are in high-resolution JPEG, and you can download them directly to any device.


When I’m booking my accommodation, can I choose where I sleep?
You can choose between a bunk bed (dorm room) or a twin or double room. If you choose a bunk bed, the dorm room you get will depend on how full the lodge is.


I’ve booked accommodation with you. What do I need to bring?
All you need to bring is your personal belongings and whatever you want to eat. We provide bedding, cooking facilities (pots/pans/appliances/cutlery), and tea, coffee and milk.


Do you cater for vegetarians, vegans, gluten frees, dairy frees, etc.?
The BBQ consists of 100% beef sausages made at the local Geraldine Butchery. These are gluten free and dairy free. The BBQ also consists of roast potatoes and coleslaw, which are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dairy free. As an alternative to beef sausages, we have veggie patties available, which are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and diary free.
If you have any special dietary requirement, just let us know on the day.


Can I buy an alcoholic drink for the BBQ?
You sure can. We have a range of beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks available to purchase.


How long is the drive from Christchurch?
We’re about two hours’ drive south of Christchurch.


I’ve booked transport to and from Christchurch with you. Where’s the pick-up/drop-off point and what time shall I expect to leave or arrive?
When you book your shuttle bus with us, we’ll send you a confirmation email with all the details in. Please note, transport to and from Christchurch is only available if you’re coming on the afternoon rafting trip.


Is there somewhere to buy food before the trip?
We recommend eating before you arrive, so you have energy to paddle. You will pass the Peel Forest Store/Café on your way out to our base, which is a great place to grab a bite to eat before your rafting adventure. We also have snacks available to purchase on site.


What gear does Rangitata Rafts provide?
We provide all of the rafting and safety gear, including thermals, fleeces, wetsuit, windbreakers, booties, floatation vests and helmets.