Immerse yourself in the rugged wilderness of the West Coast on a 3 days guided rafting adventure. Paddle grade 3-4 rapids of the Landsborough Valley, through dense rain forest, taking in hanging glaciers and wildlife. Three course meals, NZ wine and helicopter transfers included. A perfect mix of tranquillity and pure adventure.
Heli + Raft + Camp
Late November to late March
Wilderness whitewater rafting on the Landsborough River
There is a lot of birdlife in the Landsborough Valley.
If you're lucky, you could get to see the endangered Whio (Blue Duck) or Mohua (Yellowhead) or even a wild deer on the river flats.
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About the Landsborough Valley & River
The Landsborough is a major tributary of the Haast River and is unique in that it runs roughly north/south for 70kms, parallel to the main divide. Like many other New Zealand valleys, the sides are steep and of glacial origin with large fans and terraces occurring on the valley floor.
The valley is bounded by the Solution Range to the west and its headwaters lie in the permanent snowfields of the Hooker range and the main divide near Mt Cook. From our Toetoe Flat Camp, Mount Dechen and Mount Strachan can be seen up the valley on the left side with their associated Glaciers. Mount Dechan (behind the first glacier) is 8,670 feet high and Mount Strachan is 8,400 feet high. The size of the Glaciers varies year to year depending on winter snowfall, however they remain permanent features.
The Landsborough river is frequently discoloured by fine particles of glacier dust released by snowmelt.
All forests are dominated by silver beech, however southern rata occurs on the upper slopes of Clarke Mound and on Strutt Bluff. Near the confluence of the Clarke and Landsborough Rivers there are occasional strands of rimu and miro and matai as a rare canopy species. Halls totara and kamahi appear as a sub-canopy species throughout.
The valley is one of the richest bird faunas in South Westland. Surveys have identified 36 species. The most numerous species being the Kaka, Rifleman, Brown Creeper, Grey Warbler, Tit and Bellbird. Of special significance are the endanged Blue Duck (Whio) and the Yellowhead (Mohua).
Go Orange, 35 Shotover Street, central Queenstown or Wanaka, Makarora and Haast by prior arrangement.
Transfers from downtown Queenstown to Cavells Rafting Base
Transfer to Clarke's Bluff via Makarora
Scenic flight by helicopter to Landsborough ‘put-in'.
Full wetsuit, rafting clothing and safety equipment
3-course meals, wine + beer
Experienced guides and safety kayaker
Accommodation in tents
Extensive safety briefing
Wilderness white-water rafting on the Landsborough River
Transfer/ return travel to downtown Queenstown
What to bring
Swimsuit and Towel
Personal Clothing and toiletries (gear list available)
Small amount of money for extra food and drinks at either end of the trip
Please leave valuables behind
What we provide
Full wetsuit rafting clothing and safety equipment
Camping equipment (including large tents - room to stand in)
Bookings for this rafting trip cannot be made within 5 days prior to departure
This rafting trip operates with a minimum of 4 people
Suitable for water competent people of moderate fitness
Minimum age 15 years and over (15-17 year olds must have a guardian travel with them)
Minimum weight 40kgs (88lbs)
Please note the different booking terms and conditions for the Landsborough Wilderness Experience. Cancellation policy: 30 days before departure = full refund less your deposit of $100; Between 14 and 30 days before departure = 50% refund; and less than two weeks - No refund
All trips operate dependent on weather, river level and/or water temperature.
Please allow at least 24 hours flexibility before and after this trip as delays may result from adverse weather conditions
Safety and Risk
Queenstown Rafting is a licenced operator and recognised as a leader in the field of river safety and proactive risk management. With fully qualified guides, we have a safety kayaker on every trip and use satellite telephone communications. Participation in rafting activities involves a degree of risk and the rafting operator cannot absolutely guarantee participant's safety. Clients on guided tours must listen carefully to and follow guides' instructions and adhere to safety requirements.
Go Orange accepts its legal responsibilities but cannot be held responsible for personal injury or for loss, theft or damage of/to your equipment outside legal responsibilities. Participants will be required to sign a liability form to this effect before starting a tour.
Day 1 8.30am We’ll start at Cavells Rafting Base in Queenstown where you will meet your guides, pack your gear into dry bags and be sized for your rafting clothing. Then there’s a spectacular 3 hour drive to Clarke Bluff via Wanaka and Makarora.
Here you’ll board your helicopter for a flight up the scenic Landsborough Valley to our first night’s camp.
Settle in, unpack and explore the magnificent surroundings or relax in this peaceful environment and enjoy a delicious meal prepared for you.
Day 2 Begin with a leisurely breakfast then prepare to leave camp for your rafting adventure. A full safety briefing and information on river protocol will be given before you depart.
Today you have a five hour river trip ranging from action to the sedate, stopping to enjoy a deli-style picnic lunch above Hellfire Rapid then continue down river arriving at Harpers Bluff, our second camp. There will be time to try out a spot of fishing or go for a walk before dinner. After dinner explore the surrounds and maybe even discover a glow worm or two.
Day 3 Another filling breakfast will set you up for the day’s activities. Board your raft and head down river to Purple Creek for lunch and a side hike to explore the waterfalls. After lunch a leisurely float to our take out point at Clarke Bluff. Approximate arrival in Queenstown 7.00pm.
Hors-d’oeuvres accompanied by local New Zealand wines.
Mediterranean Chicken: Cooked in garlic, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil marinade. Grilled until tender over the open flame.
Rice Pilaf: An inspired Middle Eastern rice dish infused with vegetable flavours. Tomato and Onion Salad: Sliced tomatoes and finely chopped red onions dressed with garlic, basil, balsamic, honey and olive oil vinaigrette.
Fresh Fruit & the secret Dutch Oven Chocolate Cake: A secret Landsborough chocolate cake recipe baked in a Dutch oven within the hot embers of the open fire. Served with a generous dollop of cream.
Hors-d’oeuvres accompanied by local New Zealand wines.
Butterflied Leg of Lamb: Marinated in Balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, rosemary and oregano. Seared to perfection on an open flamed fire.
Greek Potatoes: Lightly tossed in olive oil, rosemary, salt & pepper. Wrapped together tightly to infuse all flavours baked on hot fire embers.
Greek Salad: Fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and green peppers, dressed with a garlic, oregano, and lemon juice vinaigrette. Lightly topped with crumbled feta cheese and kalamata olives. The perfect complement to the succulent lamb.
Fruit Crumble: Seasonal fresh fruits topped with a nutmeg and cinnamon crumble. Served warm with a drizzle of cream.
My wife and I did the 3 day Landsborough rafting trip. This is a must for anybody who would like to experience true NZ wilderness. Rafting is fun without being scary. Every aspect of the trip is exceptional, great campsites, fantastic food and highly professional crew. Darryn, Jack and Kevin were outstanding and made sure we had a great time while keeping us safe. This is a 'must do' and we will be back.
The end of a fantastic adventure. Spectacular scenery, amazing wildlife, heart pumping white water, tranquil wilderness, great company, excellent staff. Thanks.
Amanda Legge, Christchurch, New Zealand
"A great experience ...."
There are no recommendations from us for improvements to your service, which really means that we believe the service that was offered was "Top Class" and a great experience.
Murray Acker, Invercargill, New Zealand
"A thoroughly professional service ...."
Your company runs a thoroughly professional service leaving no stone unturned. We are certainly spreading the word this is a trip not to be missed.
Allan Dyer, Invercargill, New Zealand
"An amazing journey ....."
The Landsborough River - an amazing journeys through the heart of the Southern Alps.
Alison Ballance, New Zealand
"It was fantastic ..."
It was fantastic and I will be recommending it to all who ask and lots who don't. It was all I hoped it would be and more. The quintessential kiwi outback experience.
Glen Stewart, Auckland, New Zealand
"The raft is the best seat in the house ....."
The river is spectacular, and the raft is the best seat in the house for 360 degree wilderness views. The rafting is enough to make you feel like you've earned the gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners and the rapids spice up the days on the water
Sarah-Jane L - Franz Josef, New Zealand via TripAdvisor