Queenstown is one of the best places in New Zealand to hit the white water rapids on a rafting trip. You have the choice of rafting the spectacular Shotover River or the equally beautiful but more gentle Kawarau River.
One thing's for sure, it's an unforgettable adventure in breathtaking surroundings as you raft through surging rapids and idyllic rivers.
If you go for the Shotover River option, it makes no difference if you drive or helicopter in to the historic Skippers Canyon, as the approach is absolutely stunning, with deep river canyons cutting through golden tussock covered mountain ranges.
Once you're on the river, you've got heaps of white water action to look forward to. There's the ''rock garden'', ''toilet'', ''pinball'', ''jaws'' and ''sequel'' rapids to check out. Probably one of the best and most unique things about the Shotover River is you get to experience the 170m ''oxenbridge tunnel'' and ''cascade'' rapid, which gives an adrenalin-pumping finish, with rapids grade three to four plus.
The Kawarau River, on the other hand, is a great introduction for first-timers. It offers stretches of quiet water in between four fun-sized rapids. You get to raft under the bungy bridge, drift through Gibbston Valley wine country and enjoy heart-stopping excitement, finishing in the 400m ''dog leg'' rapid, which is grade two to three.
"it's an unforgettable adventure in breathtaking surroundings"
Queenstown Rafting is based at 35 Shotover Street, Queenstown and all trips include coach transport from central Queenstown. There's also a comprehensive briefing on safety and paddling techniques.
And the best thing is, when you get back to base you have the chance to have a hot shower followed by a tea or coffee and a snack, as you will have built up quite an appetite by then.
There's also the chance to get professional photos of your trip so you'll have a great memory of the adventure.
And you can even get helicoptered in to the river for a real stylish way to make your entrance on the river!
Make sure you bring your swimsuit and towel. Wetsuits, booties and spray jackets are all provided, along with a life jacket and helmet.
There are heaps of combo trips available with rafting, jet boating and helicopter rides all thrown in for one special price.
Rafting trips start at $175 per person and half-day trips leave at 8.15pm and 1.15pm daily.
Rachel stayed at Base Backpackers Discovery Lodge at 49 Shotover Street , Queenstown, which is a great central location. Reception and internet is open 24 hours, and there's an Altitude bar open daily from 4pm until late. There's also a travel desk open from 8am until 8pm daily. For more details call 03 441 1185 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org