While we don’t usually go Rangitaiki river rafting in the summer months, Kaituna river rafting during the Christmas holiday and summer season is normally the best time. Many people do not realise that the time of year can significantly alter the rafting experience. While it is always fun, most people prefer the experience of rafting on the Kaituna river during low-flow periods because the waterfalls are taller and more exhilarating, with calm pools in between which are great for swimming and floating, while the opposite is true of the Rangitaiki river when the flow covers the rocks and the rapids get bigger.
Since the Kaituna river is lake-fed, decreased rainfall can lower lake levels, which reduces the flows in the river. While river rafting is a fantastic experience just about any time of year, it is particularly enjoyable on the Kaituna during the late or mid-summer period, thanks to the slight decrease in rainfall experienced at this time of year and of course the sun!
On the Kaituna as levels rise, the height of waterfalls decreases but the intensity of rapids increases, resulting in a fun rafting experience that is like a wet roller coaster. Generally speaking, with medium to high flows, rivers will become faster and powerful, with the main flow being centred within the middle of the river and big eddies forming along the sides.
High flows on the Kaituna normally only happen after long periods of hard rain (over days) as the river is lake fed and the rain generally has to fill up the lakes before the local council manually releases more flow down the Kaituna. During periods of high rainfall we still raft unless the local council “flood” the river above our cut off level, which is when we will head out to the Rangitaiki river for some action.
This usually only happens a few times a year as a result of big floods in the Rotorua area, means that the waterfalls on the Kaituna river become too dangerous and unpredictable to raft safely – which is why during flooding, we will head out to raft the Rangitaiki river – as the “Rangi” only gets better with more water & more flooded…
During the summer months, the Rotorua area receives less rain, and the river levels typically drop somewhat as lake levels drop as well. The result of this is that more rocks become more exposed in the Rangitaiki, which is rain and spring-fed, causing a more arduous and less fun rafting experience.
However, on the lake-fed Kaituna, which is far less rocky and much deeper, this means an easier trip with more exciting rapids and a more fun experience all around. It also means that waterfalls are heightened somewhat, making for a more dramatic, memorable, intense, and enjoyable experience.
What’s more, the water will be warmer.
To book your ideal Kaituna or Rangitaiki river rafting experience this summer, contact us at Kaituna Cascades today for unforgettable memories!