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 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 

Book Now

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. Maximum 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  We had an absolute blast! My bf and I and two others were captained by the brilliant Elvis and he made everything safe, fun and really enjoyable. The whole team... read more

    Megan R
    January 1, 1970
  • star rating  The team at Cascades were awesome. My groomsmen organised it as a stag activity and we all had a blast. The cliff jump at the end was an awesome finish

    Henry W
    April 1, 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 trip, well organised, professional, fun and lottsa laughs with blue and the team. Would highly recommend this company for your thrills and spills on the kaituna River. Anatural... read more

    April 27, 2022
  • star rating  This was a great couple bonding experience that took us both to the edge of our comfort zones. Could not speak highly enough of the professionalism of the guiding team... read more

    September 29, 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  The whole thing was my favorite part. Pete was great and I had a really fun time working with my raft mates to get through the river. There was a... read more

    Lucena G
    February 1, 2022
  • star rating  The energy of the guides combined with the natural beauty of surroundings made for a brilliant experiance for our entire group of 40. For teenagers to switch off their... read more

    April 11, 2021
  • star rating  What a blast!!! Soooo much better than I had expected...stunningly beautiful scenic gorge...Yes Sam..."GORGE"OUS!!!!!...the rappids ..Thrilling...and we were in good hands with our guide Sam the man... read more

    May 19, 2021
  • star rating  Highly recommended. The staff was amazingly helpful and friendly. Our guide Owen (I hope that's right) was awesome! He guided us throughout the rafting. Great communication. We never felt unsafe... read more

    July 15, 2021
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