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In the popular travel guide's new book, Lonely Planet Great Adventures, the activity tops the list of water-based adventures for thrill-seekers around the world.
The glossy new coffee table book name the kiwi adrenaline rush alongside other phenomenal experiences, such as rafting the Amazon River and kayaking with Orca whales in British Columbia and Kayak and cruise Antartica.
The book raves about river sledging in Queenstown, encouraging readers to get up close and personal with the white water activity so the river can "have its wicked way with you".
"If white-water rafting has you yearning for something more individual, whitewater
sledging might be just the ticket. Known variously as hydrospeeding,
river surfing, riverboarding or white-water sledging, it’s rafting for one, clinging
to the grips of a sledge as the river tries to have its wicked way with you."
"The classic white-water sledging river in New Zealand is the Kawarau (also
the site of the world’s first commercial bungee jump), which flows midway
between Queenstown and Wanaka after draining out of Lake Wakatipu."
"This river pitches sledgers through grade III rapids with inviting names such as
Man-eater, Rollercoaster and Roaring Meg, the latter named for a prostitute who once worked the near by gold fields."
"The river speeds you past standing waves until at last you feel the confidence to take on some of these monsters," it says.
River sledging has been pioneered by New Zealanders since the late 1980s, with local Queenstown companies Serious Fun River Surfing and Frogz White Water Sledging the only two operators on the Kawarau River.
Serious Fun River Surfing managing director Neil Harrison said it was an "amazing" compliment for river surfing to have been chosen alongside some of the world's best adventure activities.
"The fact that a publication as influential as Lonely Planet chose us as number one in the entire world is huge for us," he said.
"Riverboarding and the Milford Track are the only two New Zealand activities included in the book which makes it an even bigger achievement.
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