21 Jun

Why Rafting in Winter is awesome!

One of the questions we get asked most during winter is ‘Can we raft the Tongariro river in winter?’

The short answer is a resounding Yes – we can and do raft daily in winter.

So while the days are cooler, there are some key reasons why white water rafting is still going to be awesome.

Turangi’s Micro Climate

The first thing to know is that Turangi and the parts of the river we raft have their own micro-climate.

We are around 1,000 feet lower than National Park Village (and the nearby ski fields) Often, if the ski fields are closed due to poor weather conditions, the weather on the river is totally different.

If there are any winds, as we’re in a gorge you will be blissfully unaware that it’s blowing like crazy up top, as the deep canyons we’re in keep us pretty well sheltered.

Now there may be times where Ruapehu and/or the Tongariro Crossing are not looking too great due to the weather.

So if the ski fields are closed or the Tongariro Crossing is closed or you’re in Taupo looking for a great activity you needn’t stay indoors. Instead you can make the short journey to Turangi and go rafting.

winter rafting on the tongariro
There’s no need to stay indoors

 

What about the rain (and snow!)?

It’s rafting, so regardless of when you raft you’re going to get wet, guaranteed! That’s part of the fun.

winter rafting on the tongariro with smiles
Winter Rafting – Smiles all around!

If you’re really lucky, you’ll be able to raft in the snow. It only happens a few times per year, and when the snowflakes gently land on the raft or your wetsuit it’s a genuinely magical moment.

Winter Clothing

But we get it – it’s still winter. Which is why we also kit you out in comfortable and flexible layers of clothing. You’ll be nice ‘n snug, but you won’t look like the michelan man.

When you raft with us, you’ll be wearing lots of Neoprene (a warm, cosy synthetic fabric) in the form of:

  • Socks
  • Wetsuits
  • Boots
  • Gloves
  • Polar Fleeces
  • Beanies
Winter Rafting Clothing To Keep Warm!
Winter Rafting Clothing To Keep Warm!

Proof that winter rafting rocks!

The real test of course is our famous cliff jump.

This is where we stop and give people the chance to take a short jump off a cliff straight into the water. Heaps of fun (and 100% optional)

In winter do our customers still make the jump?

Yes they do!

Tongariro Cliff Jumping in Winter
Cliff Jump in Winter? Hell Yeah!

It’s also worth mentioning that this is a rafting trip, not a sightseeing experience. So you’ll be busy paddling with our guide in order to get from start to finish.

So for the most part you’ve very active – in all, we ride for 13 fun filled kilometres.

You’ll be on the water for around 2 hours, and we do stop on a short part of the river where not much happens and we have a hot chocolate.

Tongariro Winter Rafting Hot Drink
A hot chocolate in a cool river. Thumbs up!

Bringing the heat back

Once we’re done on the water we don’t just send you on your way.
First we take you up the road to Tokaanu Hot Pools (free of charge) – where the water is around 38 degrees, and we’ll chill out for around 20 minutes – ironically any longer and you start to feel too hot!

Then back to base for some of ‘grandmas’ hot soup – a secret family recipe that has been handed down through the generations of Garth’s family, and one that’s filled the belly of many a rafter!

We also offer free pick up from National Park, Whakapapa village or Taupo. If you’re in Ohakune, give us a call and we may be able to pick you up as well 🙂

So there you have it. Winter rafting WILL make you smile, and once you’re done, if you’re looking for the next activity, join us for a ride on a mountain bike or an e-mountain bike.

Click here to book your rafting trip online. and we’ll make sure you and your group are as stoked with the decision to take on the river in winter as the folks in this picture.

 

tongariro winter rafting after the raft
After the raft.