The Volcanic Plateau boasts the majority of the North Islands highest mountains; the catchment area is vast, funneling rainwater down to a series of significant wild rivers - offering a selection of great rafting opportunities. Choose a scenic drift along the Tongariro River or try the white water of the Mighty Mohaka, Perhaps Raft over the edge of the world! - The Kaituna River boasts the highest commercially rafted waterfall on the planet, at 7 meters (23 feet) tall, the Tutea Falls drop will get your heart racing.

Rafting Central PlateauRafting the Central Plateau

You can’t get anymore central than this, perfect for those traveling through the centre of New Zealand’s North Island and want to take the opportunity to experience our wild rivers rafting the Central Plateau. Rotorua and Taupo are situated on the Volcanic Plateau and are perfectly located to serve a base for those wanting to navigate the regions wild-fire rapids.

The Volcanic Plateau boasts the majority of the North Islands highest mountains; the catchment area is vast, funneling rainwater down to a series of significant wild rivers - offering a selection of great rafting opportunities. Choose a scenic drift along the Tongariro River or try the white water of the Mighty Mohaka, Perhaps Raft over the edge of the world! - The Kaituna River boasts the highest commercially rafted waterfall on the planet, at 7 meters (23 feet) tall, the Tutea Falls drop will get your heart racing.

There’s plenty on offer, operators in the region from day trips through to overnight and or multiday camping adventures and with the majority of these journeys requiring no previous experience apart from an adventurous attitude. With a guide, training and all equipment provided, this is a great way to get into the wilderness that is inaccessible by road.

Some rivers are situated close to the city and others require anything up to 2 or 3 hours to get to the base camps and rivers in the region, rivers range from Grade 2 to 5 so if you are a first timer or well seasoned rafter there is a rafting experience here waiting to be had.


The Rivers


(Drive times are from Rotorua)

  • The Kaituna: Grade V, a 20 minute drive out of Rotorua.
  • The Rangitaiki: Grade IV-V, a 1-hour drive from Rotorua.
  • The Lower Rangitaiki River:  Grade II, 1-hour drive from Rotorua.
  • The Wairoa River: Grade II-V, a 1-hour drive from Rotorua (Open for Rafting only 26 days a year on specific dates).
  • The Lower Mohaka River: Grade IV-V, a 2 hour drive from Rotorua via Taupo heading to Napier.
  • The Upper Mohaka River: Grade II – III, a 1-hour drive from Rotorua via Taupo heading to Napier.
  • The Mokau River: Grade IV, a 3-hour drive from Rotorua.
  • The Motu River: Grade III - IV, a 2-hour drive from Rotorua.
  • The Tongariro River: Grade III, a 2-hour drive from Rotorua.

    Optimize Your New Zealand Rafting Experience: The quality of your rafting experience relies solely on the rafting guides experience and his intimate knowledge of the river, here at First Light Travel we deal with seasoned operators, those that we have been dealing with for a long time and those that our guests tell us tick all the boxes.