About Us

Challenge Rafting operates exciting half day whitewater rafting and raft combo trips on the Kawarau and Shotover Rivers.

The Kawarau River offers exhilarating rafting for first-timers. The Shotover offers the challenge of extra excitement and thrills - conquer the 170-metre Oxenbridge Tunnel to shoot the Cascade Rapid.

No experience is required. Our trips offer everything from calm waters to thundering rapids – there is something for everyone.

Our professional and experienced guides provide instruction and guidance to make your trip even more enjoyable. All trips include courtesy coach transfers specialist on-river clothing, safety briefing and a hot shower after your raft trip.

 Our rafting trips operate in association with Queenstown Rafting. For more information click here. 


The safety of clients is paramount and Challenge Rafting operates within strict safety guidelines. It is important to listen carefully to the instructions of your guide. Rafting is recommended for people over the age of 13 years who are confident in the water.

Participation in rafting activities involves a degree of risk and the rafting operator cannot be held responsible for personal injury or for equipment lost or damaged. We reserve the right to cancel or amend any trip due to river, road, weather conditions or lack of numbers. All prices are subject to change. This is subject to any rights or remedies you may have under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993.


Challenge Rafting is a Qualmark accredited operator.

Raft Grades

Shotover River – graded 3-5 which means it’s more exciting to raft and harder to navigate. There is a higher risk of falling out the boat. The river has more rapids than the Kawarau – including a section where you raft 170m through the Oxenbridge Tunnel. You must be able to swim on this river. The road to the Shotover River is via Skippers Canyon – a narrow dirt track road that hugs the sheer cliff face of the canyon.

Kawarau River – graded 2-3 (however occasionally grade 2-4 at higher water levels), which means it’s easier to navigate with low risk of falling out of the raft. There are flat stretches of river between the rapids which means there’s a chance of some water fight action. There’s an opportunity to race your friends on the other rafts or jump out and swim in the flat water between the rapids. The Kawarau River is a much deeper and bigger river and flows through some spectacular Central Otago vineyards. The trip ends with a 400 metre long, grade 3 rapid.


"Lots of fun and stunning scenery! Absolute must-do in Queenstown."

Lucile K - Singapore
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