The Shotover River isn't all high grade rapids - further up Skippers Canyon, following an absolutely incredible drive into another world, you get to the upper Shotover where gold workings from the 1900s still lie abandoned and the river snakes through the Skippers Canyon.
The rapids here are grade 1 to 2, meaning there will be some bouncing, some white water, but no challenges, so this is a great intro to rafting for families - I went with my mother and aunt - second trip for mum as she loved it so much the first time. Both my aunt and other members of the trip had never experienced anything like it and absolutely loved sitting at the front of the raft, hoping to get splashed as we bounced through the gentle rapids. It's a hands-on trip and part of the fun is following our guide's commands, negotiating rocks or sharp bends in the river and working our way downstream.
While it is extremely unlikely/nearly impossible to accidentally fall into the river on this raft trip, a voluntary dip seemed like a perfect idea! There's a gorgeous green and deep pool with a rock jump opportunity that had to be taken! Kids love this bit, often running round for a second go, otherwise you can just have a swim straight from the raft. On our trip everyone decided to jump in the river for a wee float.
Meanwhile our guides were fantastic - competent, professional and super-entertaining so that from start to finish, the trip is a real winner.
It may be a 'soft' rafting adventure but it is in no way boring - a fantastic trip in one of the most stunning and peaceful corners of New Zealand, that I reckon is one of the best activities in Queenstown.