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Andy Palmer's avatar

Andy Palmer

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

As a family experience, rafting the Clarence River with Hidden Valleys was a gold plated one. As a group of 3 families, consisting of 6 adults and 9 children, 4 guides controlling 3 rafts and a gear raft we floated and paddled our way down 200km of the most amazing NZ landscape far away from human habitation. Each day and night we were awed by the ability of our guides to provide us with delicious, nutritious food, cooked in a camp oven over a wood fire as we contemplated the day's adventures before collapsing into our tents. The kids were encouraged to embrace the unique environment they were in, be it floating down the river, catching eels at night or hunting for deer. Camping has never been so much fun and smiles and laughter were our content companion ringing off the compressed sandstone gorge walls as we made our way to the coast. A smattering of fast water each day provided us all with just the right amount of excitement and a sense of achievement once they were safely negotiated. Our guides were extremely competent and friendly, regaling us with stories of past adventures and providing an interesting commentary of the landscape we were passing through.
Southy and his Hidden Valleys crew are one of NZ's best kept secrets. From our pick-up to drop off we were provided with the experience of a life time. One our children and friends will remember and cherish forever. If you're thinking about exploring more of our beautiful country, then this is the trip for you!