Every paddler and whitewater enthusiast has heard of the Kaituna River. Though the river itself is relatively short at 28 miles in length, the site is home to the world’s tallest commercially rafted waterfall. At 23 ft. Tutea Falls, watch the front of your raft go vertical as you free fall to the river below, and then check your pulse in the flatwater pool that’s just after the Class V rapid. Though Tutea Falls is a notable exception, most of the river is Class III and IV rafting and is open to adventurous novices. For those who would rather experience the drop from a safe, dry vantage point, the Kaituna Bushwalk follows the river and offers prime vantage points for spectators. In addition to the drop and fast-paced action, the lush, temperate, rainforest surroundings create a gaping and scenic theater of green that feels like the middle of the jungle. And—perhaps most importantly—the water temperature is warmer here than the lakes and rivers near Taupo, making a day spent rafting the Kaituna an adventurous, comfortable event.
Commercial companies raft the Kaituna on every day except Christmas. To enjoy the Kaituna Bushwalk instead, follow Okere Falls Road to Trout Pool Road, and then to the parking lot at the end.