"Okere Falls" by Kathrin & Stefan Marks via Flickr Creative Commons

What the Pacific Islands lack in whitewater, New Zealand makes up for it. The cluster of islands has more whitewater per square mile than anywhere else in the world. A few other destinations have crept up as well. Australia has a good run, as does Papua New Guinea, but the kiwis will always be king when it comes to Pacific whitewater.

  1. Tongariro River, New Zealand The North Island’s Tongariro river offers more than 60 Class III-IV rapids in a volcanic gorge. This is a favorite river of both kayakers and rafters.
  2. Wairoa River, New Zealand The Class V Wairoa is one of the most technical in Kiwi land, well during the 26 days each year it is raftable.
  3. Watut River, Papua New Guinea More than 150 Class III-IV rapids in the Morobe province are some of the most unpaddled in the world. Pass through lush jungle that has rarely seen an outside visitor.
  4. Upper Buller River, New Zealand One of the highlights of paddling the Class III-IV Upper Buller River is going over the 16 foot Ariki Falls on the South Island’s West Coast.
  5. Karamea River, New Zealand You’ll either have to hike for two days or make this a heli-journey to get to the headwaters of this 3-5 day trip down the Karamea. The Class II-V River sits within Kahurangi National Park on the northern reaches of the West Coast.
  6. Mokihinui River, New Zealand You’ll paddle through bedrock canyons and sub topical rainforest as the Mokihinui snakes its way to the Tasman Sea. This river has everything from chutes, slides, drops and Class IV-V rapids that will delight every technical geek.
  7. Clarence River, New Zealand Rafting on the South Island’s Clarence River is one of New Zealand’s longest river journeys. The five day run over Class II-III rapids is fairly mild, yet traditional and an overall great trip for beginner and intermediate paddlers.
  8. Rangitata River, New Zealand The Rangitata Gorge is an exhilarating Class IV-V run near Christchurch. After the three hour run dive from the legendary jump rock.
  9. Upper Navua River, Suva, Fiji The Fijian highlands of Viti Levu hide a truly remote whitewater run. These intermediate rapids are flanked by lsuh fern shrouded waterfalls and pristine tropical forests.
  10. Franklin River, Australia Rafting Devonport, Tasmania’s Franklin River can take as many as ten days if you attempt to complete the entire 77 miles. You’ll come to Frenchman’s Gap, gorges, and Tasmania’s World Heritage areas.

Click here for Things To Consider for a Whitewater Rafting Vacation