Is rafting dangerous?
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.”
What do the rafting grades mean?
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.
|GRADE OF RAPIDS
Are you audited or certified?
Do I have to be able to swim?
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.
Do you have any age restrictions?
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.
Do you have any weight/size restrictions?
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.
Do you provide lunch?
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.
Can I buy lunch?
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!
What do I wear on the river?
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.
The weather is bad – are we still going rafting?
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.
It is raining in Napier – will the river be in flood?
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.
Can I bring alcohol on trip?
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.
Can I smoke or vape while rafting?
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.
What happens if I turn up drunk or impaired?
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.
Can you accommodate people with disabilities?
Can we go fishing?
When are you open?
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
Where do I meet you?
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.
We are arriving on a cruise ship – can we do a grade 3 or grade 5 trip?
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.
What time do we start?
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.
Will we get back to our ship in time?
Yes, we will be able to get you back to your ship before it departs.
Our ship is late – can we still go?
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.
Our ship is no longer docking in Napier – what happens now?
If your ship is re-routed, or cannot dock in Napier for any reason, then we will cancel the trip and refund in full.
What is for lunch?
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.
I don’t see a trip scheduled for when we want to go – can you accommodate us?
Can we do an expedition over Christmas/New Year?
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.
What do I need to bring?
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.
Is there anything I cannot take with me?
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;
- Glass containers
- Backpacks with external frames
- Compressed gas
- Heavy hiking boots
- Jewellery, valuables, car keys, passports, electronics, etc
I don’t have my own sleeping bag – can I borrow one?
Sure, no problem. We have liners as well. Let us know and we will make sure we have one ready for when you arrive.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
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.
Do you provide food?
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.
I have specific dietary requirements – can you cater for me?
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.
Can we go fishing?
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
How do I book?
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.
Why do you want to know what country I am from?
Can we have our own raft(s), just for our group?
Can we have our own exclusive trip?
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.
Can I buy a gift voucher for someone?
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!
Do I have to book a full raft of people all together?
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!
What should we do if we are a small group?
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!
What happens if there are not enough people booked for a trip to go?
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.
Can I cancel my booking and get a refund?
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.
- 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.
Some of our group decided not to come – can we get a refund for them?
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 have extra people – is that OK?
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.
What happens if we just don’t show up?
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
Where are you?
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!
When do I have to arrive?
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.
Do you have accommodation on site?
Is there a local campsite that I can stay at?
Can I get to you by public transport?
Do you provide pickups/shuttles in Napier/Hastings/Taupo/etc?
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.