White Water Rafting is an adventurous activity, and so has an inherent degree of risk associated with participating. We do our best to minimise and mitigate, but we can never eliminate all the risks. Before participating, we ask all participants (or parents/guardians) to read and sign to accept our risk disclosure statement;

“I understand that participation in rafting and other outdoor activities will expose me to risks including drowning, becoming entrapped, and collisions with other participants, rocks, and equipment. The risks increase with the grade of rapids, and the activity operator cannot guarantee my safety.”

Sections of whitewater are graded on a scale of 1 through 6. The two main factors that influence the grade are the technical difficulty of successfully negotiating the rapids, and the consequences of getting it wrong. Gradings may change with varying river flows. There is no commercial rafting on grade 6 whitewater.

  • have little to no current and small waves with no obstacles, and
  • a clear passage that is easy to recognise and negotiate, with no obstructions.
  • have regular medium-sized waves of less than a metre
  • low ledges or drops, easy eddies, and gradual bends, and
  • a passage that is:
    • easy to recognise, and
    • generally unobstructed, although there may be rocks in the main current, overhanging branches or log jams.
  • have fairly high waves of 1 to 2 metres
  • broken water, stoppers and strong eddies, exposed rocks and small falls
  • a passage that may be difficult to recognise from the river, and
  • require manoeuvring to negotiate the rapids.
  • have high, powerful, irregular waves, broken water, often boiling eddies, strong stoppers, ledges, drops, and dangerous exposed rocks,
  • a passage that is often difficult to recognise, and
  • require precise and sequential manoeuvring to negotiate the rapids.
  • have very confused and broken water, large drops, violent and fast currents, abrupt turns, difficult powerful stoppers, and fast boiling eddies
  • numerous obstacles in the main current
  • require complex, precise, powerful and sequential manoeuvring to negotiate the rapids, and
  • pose a definite risk to personal safety.

Yes we are. Providers of adventurous activities in NZ are required to be audited and registered by the Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016. Our Audit is provided by Adventuremark and we are registered with Worksafe, listed as Mohaka Rafting Limited.

Each of our trips will have a different level of swimming ability required. For grade 2 trips, no swimming ability is required. Grade 3 trips need some water confidence, and our grade 4 and 5 trips require you to be a good swimmer.

Yes, each trip will have a minimum age requirement. This varies from 5 for our half-day grade 2 trip, up to 16 for our grade 4-5 trip. We do not allow unaccompanied minors – every group must have at least one participant that is 18 or over.

We have both minimum and maximum restrictions due to the sizing of our lifejackets and other associated gear. Minimum is 23 Kg and 61 cm chest, maximum is 132 cm chest.

We do not provide lunch for most of our day trips. The exception is our cruise ship special; more details below. For trips that are out over lunchtime, please bring a packed lunch; we will provide drybags to take them down the river with us. All of our overnight expeditions are fully catered, lunches included.

We don’t have food for purchase up at our base. Please come prepared; the nearest places to reliably buy lunch are Napier or Taupo!

We have wetsuits, fleeces, splash jackets, wetsuit boots, helmets and lifejackets in a wide range of sizes for you to use. All you need to wear underneath is swimwear, or lightweight synthetics – no cotton garments on the river please! If you have your own wetsuit, etc you are welcome to wear it, but you must wear one of our lifejackets.

Yes – usually. A bit of rain doesn’t put us off, and rafting is a great option when other, more weather dependent activities might not be running. If the weather forecast looks really bad, we will make the decision to cancel and let you know as soon as we can.

Almost certainly not. The weather patterns that cause heavy rain in Napier do not usually deposit much rain in the upper Mohaka river catchment, which is where it would need to fall to flood the river. We closely monitor the automatic flow gauges on the Mohaka and surrounding rivers, and will cancel a trip if there is a risk of the river being too high.

No! Absolutely no consumption of alcohol prior to, or during you rafting trip. You are welcome to bring a drink or two to enjoy after the trip (in moderation please!). If you are coming on an overnight expedition with us, you can bring alcohol to consume with evening meals (again, in moderation!), but no glass containers please.

No – our rafts, vehicles and base building are all smoke and vape free; it is our workplace. There may be opportunities to light up if we stop for lunch if you really must; please pack out your butts. Please do not ask us to carry your tobacco products in our drybags – make your own arrangements.

If you present yourself for rafting drunk/hungover/stoned/high or otherwise impaired then we cannot safely take you rafting. We will cancel your booking and no refund will be forthcoming.

Yes, we will do our very best to accommodate you. Please get in touch in advance so that we can make whatever preparations are needed.

We do offer special fishing trips that go at a slower pace; please get in touch if you are interested in this. Our normal day trips are not suitable for fishing.

Our season runs from late October through to around Easter. We can do trips on demand for larger groups slightly outside of this, but we do not operate through the winter.

Cruise Ship trips

The meeting point for all of our cruise ship trips is the Napier i-site Tourist information centre. There will be free shuttle buses running from the port to the i-site and back during the time that your ship is in port. The bus ride will take about 5 minutes. Please ensure that you get off the ship as soon as you are allowed to so so, and get on the first available shuttle bus to the i-site where a member of our staff will be waiting for you.

Sorry – almost certainly not! Most cruise ships dock for 5-8 hours; your ship would need to be in port for a minimum of 10-11 hours for a grade 3 trip. If you are sailing on one of the few cruise ships that would make this possible, please get in touch and we will see what we can do. This would need to be booked well in advance, and would be an exclusive trip with a minimum of 8 participants. There are no cruise ships that dock with enough time in port to run a grade 4-5 trip.

We do not get the final docking times from the cruise ships until about 24-48 hours prior to arrival, so we will not know exactly what time the trip will start until that time. Even then, the docking times will be subject to some uncertainty. Our advice is always; disembark as soon as you are allowed to do so, and get on the first available shuttle bus to the Napier i-site where we will meet you.

Yes, we will be able to get you back to your ship before it departs.

That depends upon how late, and how much time remains before you have to be back on your ship again. Please assume that your trip is going ahead unless we inform you otherwise. If we do have to cancel the trip due to insufficient time, we will refund in full. Our advice is always; disembark as soon as you are allowed to do so, and get on the first available shuttle bus to the Napier i-site where we will meet you.

If your ship is re-routed, or cannot dock in Napier for any reason, then we will cancel the trip and refund in full.

We supply a light lunch, either before or after the rafting trip. This is sourced locally, and is usually club sandwiches, a selection of cakes, hot drinks, etc. Please let us know when you book if you have any dietary restrictions.


Probably! Most of our expeditions run on demand, so get in touch and we will make it happen if we possibly can.

We do not run expeditions over the busy Christmas to New Year period. This is our busiest time of the year, and all of our staff will be working every day; it is a significant amount of extra work to prepare and run an expedition. Also, there will be many other people out enjoying the great outdoors at this time, putting pressure on the campsites and amenities that we use on expeditions; having us turn up as well may lead to overcrowding and a worse experience all around.

We have all of the rafting gear that you need while on the river, and camping gear for off the river. All that you really need is some warm clothes for the evenings, a rainjacket just in case, toiletries, and insect repellent if you want. We have a detailed packing list available on request.

There are various things that are either not allowed or not recommended you bring. Nearly all of our expeditions involve a helicopter flight, and there are rules.

We have waterproof barrels for your gear; everything needs to fit inside, and be carried down the river with us, so please pack light. Examples of things that you shouldn’t pack are;

  • Firearms
  • Chainsaws
  • Glass containers
  • Backpacks with external frames
  • Compressed gas
  • Heavy hiking boots
  • Jewellery, valuables, car keys, passports, electronics, etc

Sure, no problem. We have liners as well. Let us know and we will make sure we have one ready for when you arrive.

We will be camping! Most of our tents fit 2 or 3 people, so you will be sharing with someone else in your group. We will not expect you to share a tent with someone that is not on the same booking as you. We have foam and inflatable air mattresses for a comfy night’s sleep.

Yes – all of our expeditions are fully catered, including lunches on the first and last days unless we have arranged otherwise with you. We have arranged our camp menus to be plentiful and filling, with dishes that should suit a wide range of palates. We can customise to a certain extent; we will be  in touch a week or two before your trip to make any last adjustments.

We will do our best within the limits of camp cookery! Vegetarian or gluten free is achievable, but full kosher for example is beyond our capabilities. Please get in touch well in advance and we will work it all out.

Yes, fishing on an expedition is a great way to spend a few hours at camp. Rods need to be collapsible and in a hard case, and it is your responsibility to have a licence, know your seasons, catch limits and so on. There are a few places where we have agreed with landowners not to fish as a condition of being allowed access. Please catch and release, unless you have made specific arrangements with us to be able to cook your catch!

Booking and Cancellation

The most convenient way that you can book a trip with us is using our online booking facility. Choose the appropriate trip from our website, and click the book now button. If you have any questions, or want to book a trip that isn’t listed, please get in touch.

As part of our online booking process, we will ask you what country you are from. We are asked to collect this data and report anonymised aggregate totals by the Department of Conservation so that they can better understand the usage of the public conservation estate.

Yes, you can book a raft, or number of rafts to yourselves if you wish; get in touch to sort it out.

We can do exclusive bookings; there will be no other clients with you either in vehicles or rafts. This is more expensive than a normal booking and subject to availability; please give us plenty of notice if you are interested in this.

Yes, we offer personalised gift vouchers. These can either be for a specific trip type (e.g. 4 people on a grade 3 trip), or a dollar amount, and can be redeemed against any of our trips. In all cases these need to paid for in full, before a voucher can be issued. Get in touch to sort a voucher for someone!

We can take bookings of all sized groups. If your group is not enough to fill a raft – no problem, we might well find you some new friends to paddle with for the day. Larger groups will of course have to split over multiple rafts. Rafts also don’t have to be completely full; they work just as well with a few empty seats!

If you are a group that is smaller than our minimum group size – don’t worry! We often run trips made up of several smaller groups together, especially during the summer holidays. Our online booking facility will show which trips already have sufficient bookings to meet our minimum numbers, and also how many more people a trip will need for it to run. Try to pick a trip with other people on it already to make sure that we can take you all out together!

Most of our trips do run, but occasionally we will have trip that doesn’t meet our minimum numbers to run. This is usually only an issue early and late in the season. We will contact you if this is the case, and try to make things work out for you. This may be by asking if you could change dates, moving another group to join you, or an alternative trip. If we cannot come up with a satisfactory solution, then we will of course refund in full.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you can no longer come out rafting with us. In all cases a minimum of 14 days notice of cancellation is required to avoid any cancellation fees being charged.

On-line Bookings

  • Cancellations with less than 14 days but more than 72 hours notice will be charged a 20% cancellation charge.
  • Cancellations between 72 and 24 hours prior to the trip will be charged a 50% cancellation charge.
  • Cancellations within 24 hours of departure or no-shows will be charged 100% cancellation fee.

Off-line Bookings (Non-Exclusive Trips)

  • Complete cancellation within 14 days of your trip, or no-shows will result in the loss of your 20% deposit.
  • For per raft bookings; partial cancellation e.g. reduction in group size (e.g. from 4
  • rafts to 3) – $450 per raft cancelled.

Off-line Bookings (Exclusive Trips)

  • Cancellations with less than 14 days but more than 96 hours (4 days) notice will be charged a 20% cancellation charge.
  • Cancellation 96 hours to 48 hours prior to trip:
  • a) Complete cancellation of group – 50% cancellation charge.
  • b) For per raft bookings; partial cancellation e.g. reduction in group size (e.g. from 4
  • rafts to 3) – $450 per raft cancelled.
  • Cancellations within 48 hours of departure or no-shows will be charged 100% cancellation fee.

We may use our discretion and modify our cancellation policies in your favour. If we do so on one or more occasions, we are under no obligation to do so on any further occasions.

Our cancellation policy above applies to reductions in group numbers as well. In all cases a minimum of 14 days notice of cancellation is required to avoid any cancellation fees being charged.

We usually have capacity to take a few more people, so get in touch as soon as you can to amend your booking. Showing up on the day with extra people is always going to be a bit of a gamble; we will do our best with the resources that we have scheduled, but there is a possibility that your extras will not be able to fit on trip.

No-shows are a bit of a headache for us; staff have already come in to work, vans have been hired, and we may have had to turn away other bookings. Therefore we don’t offer any kind of refund or re-booking.

Getting to us

The Mohaka Rafting base is on State Highway 5, between Napier and Taupo. Allow 45 minutes to drive from Napier, or 1 hour 45 minutes from Taupo. We are signposted from both directions. Once you see the new windfarm, you are getting close!

All of our trips apart from the cruise ship specials have a start time that will be in your confirmation email. This is when we will be ready to welcome you and get started; you don’t need to be here any earlier than this. If you are booked into a cruise ship trip with us, our advice is always; disembark as soon as you are allowed to do so, and get on the first available shuttle bus to the Napier i-site where we will meet you.

We don’t have any accommodation, but we are right next to TimeOut an accommodation provider that offer self-catering chalets.

The local DoC campsite at Glenfalls is unfortunately out of action after cyclone Gabby, but there are alternatives at Te Pohue Camp and Mohaka River Farms with camping, caravan sites and rooms available.

Yes, Intercity run several buses a day in both directions along State Highway 5. Our nearest stop is Te Pohue; if you are arriving by bus please let us know in advance and we will send someone to meet you and transport you up to our base.

We do not provide shuttles normally, but it you have a large group and no transport, then get in touch and we will give you a quote for a pickup and drop off. All of our cruise ship specials include shuttles from, and back to the Napier i-site as part of the package.