Wairoa River Rafting

Wairoa River Rafting


Take on the mighty Wairoa River in an adrenaline pumping rafting expedition you’ll never forget!

The Grade 5 Wairoa River rafting is renowned for having some of the best white water action in New Zealand. Kaituna Cascades run the whole of the river including the bottom three rapids and the lower waterfall!

After a good safety talk and a few light jokes, your into it.  A few small waves and the first rapid “Humpty Dumpty” will have you nicely warmed up – before heading straight into ‘Mothers Nightmare’ which has a technical grade 4 rock garden entrance followed closely by a sweet 2 meter waterfall.

Then the action doesn’t really slow down for the next hour or two !

Experience the thrill of ‘The Rollercoaster’ –  a long hard and violently fun staircase of whitewater that will get even the hardest of souls going. Feel the rush of ‘The Waterfall’ which has an awesome 3 meter drop into a churning pool of white water!  And then continue down through the rest of the Wairoa Rivers amazing boulder-strewn rock canyon in a combination of awesome grade 3 & 4 rapids and waterfalls.

There are also 2 optional cliff jumps for those that just want more adrenaline….!

The Wairoa has it all – come check it out for yourself 

Also please note – This is an exciting grade 5 rafting experience and is NOT suited for older or bigger people, or people that aren’t comfortable in the water. We have a weight limit of 120 kgs.

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Kaituna Cascades Wairoa River Rafting 2
Whitewater Rafting on the Wairoa River in Tauranga NZ

The power company only release water on certain Sundays, 26 days a year over the Spring/Summer/Autumn period for us to go rafting. SO GET IN QUICK

The Flow dates for 2023/24 are:

September 2023  None
 October 2023  Sunday 1, 15, 29
 November 2023  Sunday 12, 26
 December 2023  Sunday 10, 17, 24, 31
 January 2024  Sunday 7, 14, 21, 28
 February 2024  Sunday 4, 11, 17 & 18, 25 
 March 2024  Sunday 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
 April 2024  Sunday 7, 14, 28
 May 2024  None

Check in Time

9.30am - meeting at the river or return transport available from Rotorua leaving at 8.30am.


Allow 5 hours (leaving from Rotorua) or 3 hours meeting at the river - with around 2 hours on the river.


Due to Wairoa being dam release, this combo tour only runs 26 days per year, every Sunday during summer months, with some Spring and Autumn releases too.


The river is located just outside Tauranga at 1376 highway 29, 15 minutes from Tauranga or 50 minutes from Rotorua.


13+ years only. Basic swimming skills are required. NOT SUITABLE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN or THOSE WITH HEART CONDITIONS. MAXIMUN WEIGHT is 120kgs - must be fit and healthy.

We Provide

The best guides on the river, custom built rafts, wetsuits, helmets, lifejackets, paddles, fleece tops, wetsuit booties, and splash jackets.

Price Includes

Transport available - but self driving is recommended.

What to bring

Swimwear, Shorts & Towel. We are GoPro friendly, feel free to bring yours along. Please bring a chest harness for your GoPro.

Minimum Numbers

This tour requires a total of 4 people to go ahead.


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Health & Safety

We are taking all precautionary safety measures to give you a safe (and amazing) trip down our iconic Kaituna River, Wairoa & Rangitaiki Rivers. However River Rafting is an adventure activity with a degree of risk which increases with the grade of rapids. Rafts can capsize, and people may fall out of the raft in fast flowing & violent water, people may be injured.
The Kaituna & Wairoa River’s are class 5 rivers and both have waterfalls and hard rapids.
Grade 5 = Very difficult rapids, High-powerful-irregular waves, difficult to negotiate, the extreme for commercial operations. This said – The Kaituna river is an amazing river & is normally good for most fit and healthy people”


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  • star rating  I started quite nervous about the big waterfalls, but the guide was very informative and put me at ease. I'm so glad we went, it was the highlight of our... read more

    Melanie A
    March 1, 2022
  • star rating  Fantastic crew, everyone was really fun and made the whole experience awesome. Felt safe the whole time. Water was 23 degrees too which was a bonus. 10/10 would do again.

    February 1, 2022
  • star rating  10/10 experience - definitely get your money’s worth. Hayley, our guide, was super patient and made our experience that much better. Can’t wait to come back!

    January 1, 2022
  • star rating  Bloody brilliant. These guys are really professional and know their stuff.

    Andy they are so close to the start and end of the river that you only have to... read more

    Scott C
    July 10, 2022
  • star rating  We had such a great time on the river, stunning scenery and adventurous waterfalls, great guides ... thanks, very highly recommended!

    June 18, 2022
  • star rating  Our guides were pretty awesome and we had loads of fun on the water. The explanations in advance were really good so that the ride was adventurous without being scary.... read more

    July 20, 2022
  • star rating  Don't bother looking at other companies, just do yourself a favour and book with Kaituna Cascades. I have rafted the Kaituna with this company twice now, 10 years apart. Both... read more

    May 8, 2022
  • star rating  Excellent experience! Definitely recommend to anyone. It was my first time rafting and the guys at Kaituna Cascades made it super easy for me to understand as well as have... read more

    July 23, 2022
  • star rating  Awesome experience highly recommend! Lovely staff who calm the nerves and overall very easy experience.

    Bridget Sullivan
    January 1, 2022
  • star rating  The whole experience was just fabulous. It was just the best. I have never experienced anything like it. Truly wonderful! Our guide was just amazing, funny and full of enthusiasm.... read more

    Sharon D
    August 8, 2021
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