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Travelling throughout the world is a chance to immerse yourself in change – which can manifest itself externally, naturally through location, a metamorphosis of vistas, epic landscapes, thundering falls of cascading water or change you internally through meaningful immersions in genuine cultural experiences. Most people will have to experience both of these separately – finding spiritual and physical nourishment in different places – serenity and action rarely combining. You don’t expect to find both hiding beneath a typical kiwi smile – on the Kaituna River in Rotorua.
The Kaituna River is by far one of the “must-do” rafting experiences in New Zealand, if not the must-do experience of your visit to NZ. Just off the beaten track east of Rotorua, it's home to a few awesome features which make it the perfect NZ rafting river. Firstly it's warm, not hot, but unlike every other rafted river in New Zealand, its water isn’t supplied by snow melt, making the river accessible all year round – where most of NZs better rivers become uncomfortably cold during the winter months, if not unraftable.
The river itself is Grade 5, the highest grade you can raft in the world, it has 14 rapids, 3 waterfalls, one of them being the 7m High Tutea Falls, the world’s highest commercially rafted vertical drop! All rafting companies offer a pick up with an awesome turnaround time of about 3 hours from town and back - ideal for the intrepid traveller looking to do more, as your day isn’t lost driving to some remote place and is spent getting in to the action. But of course everything worth doing is worth paying for, but only on the Kaituna can you expect to raft, have transport, your gear, your guide and access to some of the most beautiful scenery NZ has to offer for less than a $100NZD, elsewhere in NZ it can be almost double that.
Now ordinarily these attributes would be enough to seal you the deal, but if you’re looking for more than just the standard experience, if you’re really looking to try and peel back the layers of New Zealand and look for a genuine experience, then rafting in this wonderland really offers you only one option – Kaitiaki Adventures. The first of Rotorua’s rafting companies to seek permission to raft on the Kaituna from the local Maori Tribe, this is the World’s 100% all Kiwi Rafting and Sledging Company, offering not only the most fun you can have whilst rafting, but a unique insight into the world of the indigenous Maori people and into real kiwi characters.
Arguably the most fun rafting base in the area, as you stroll up to the front door – awesome music hits your ears, a bunch of outgoing travellers are gracing the volleyball court as your guides greet you with a Maori “Kia Ora”, setting a scene for something that is truly unique to this area. Guests are provided all the gear, and introduced to all the crew – who are all Kiwis, which Kaitiaki prides itself on, being the only company to exclusively be staffed by New Zealanders.
On to the river with the solid safety briefing that sets you in no doubt, you’re in for a massive experience. As you set off with your guide, you do a Karakia or prayer to bless your journey and ask for strength. The prayer is done in Maori to pay respect to the Maori people of Ngati Pikiao, who count the Kaituna as one of their sacred areas.
Rapids and amazing scenery await you, as your guides seamlessly blend the action with local history Maori tikanga (custom). As you plant your boat at the top of the massive Tutea Falls, your guide galvanizes your spirit with soul stirring Maori Chants, teach all the crew to join in and reach for something deeper within your Wairua (spirit). A whistle blows, and your boat motions towards your destiny, away from your old self, dropping you seven metres to be precise past the old you...and launching you in to whitewater awesomeness!
The rest of your experience is filled with fun ways to learn about Kaituna River, the people of Awa (River) and of course charging about down some amazing rapids.
The crew at Kaitiaki try to use the river as a roadway in to your own Wairua or inner self, mixing adrenalin and culture in a way that makes New Zealand so unique, and this experience so different from every other available.
If your looking for more information try http://kaitiaki.co.nz or check out their facebook page http://facebook.com/KaitiakiAdventuresRotorua?ref=hl.
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