Hokitika Heli RaftingHokitika I-site
Heli Rafting Adventure:
One of the top 10 rafting experiences in the world is accessed from Hokitika.
The only way to get in is to take a helicopter or walk-in. Having geared up mid-morning with everything including wetsuits and all the bells and whistles including helmets and dry tops, off we go in the helicopter into the mountains to the rafting put in.
We land at the top of the first of three canyons, and then the tough talk begins. You get a comprehensive safety briefing while the guides pump the rafts up. Next, you are all trained to work as a team and towards the first canyon through the easier rapids.
The start of the canyon is our first portage around a dangerous undercut cliff. We then head right into the first canyon where the towering schist gorges overhang the river and have to be seen to be believed. They really are a natural wonder.
After an hour on the river, we begin to explore a side canyon where crystal clear creek water pounds out of a deep crevice and powers over a waterfall. You have the option of leaping off a small cliff and if youd like to, swimming behind the waterfall. Next, we climb onto a rock ledge for a team photo. After a photo, the highlight for most - we jump into the waterfall and get flushed out of the side canyon into a deep pool that joins the main river.
After that adrenaline, and with two more gorges to negotiate, we have a bite to eat to recharge the batteries!
Theres an unrunnable rapid to circumnavigate with the raft on foot, a massive rock to abseil down, and then back into the raft in the water.
Out into the current with us, and we negotiate a technical section of grade 4 whitewater before pulling into shore above the last grade 5 rapid for the day. For the less confident, theres the option to walk around this and meet the rest of the crew at the bottom.
Finally, theres another hour of big volume grade 3 whitewater before getting back to the vehicles and high fives all round, home James!
Half-Day Helicopter Adventure:
For the Half Day, we bring the raft to the last gorge and raft for 2 hours returning to our vehicles through big volume grade 3 whitewater.
We stop on the way to light a fire and boil the billy for a cup of hot chocolate or tea. Nothing beats a cup of billy tea with its unique smoky flavour sweetened with native Manuka honey the most powerful natural antibiotic known to man.
The Half Day adventure is a great intermediate trip and a good option for people that want to head into Franz Josef for the afternoon and sample some of the great food available in the restaurants and bars that are clustered in the town centre.