Rafting is a private, non-commercial
river conservator. We have rafted for river conservation since 1991, welcoming families, first-timers, and
people of most ages who wish to support what we do.
winter we undertake native restoration, using plants from our on-site
nursery. While from September to April, we focus on eco
education, monitoring, and sometimes seed collection, and this is
when you can join us eco rafting.
Pioneer Rafting is not a commercial rafting operator. We
rafting free of charge to prospective donors to our river
conservation projects, so that they can make an informed decision.
We navigate the mighty Clutha Mata-Au River, a wild
and scenic river forming the heart of the Upper Clutha Valley.
The Clutha Mata-Au is New Zealand's
largest and most powerful river, flowing swiftly from Lake Wanaka
into the golden semi-desert landscape of Central Otago.
We encounter peaceful river sections, surging
eddies, native birdlife, gold-rush tailings, and exciting but easy
Grade 2-3 whitewater rapids that everyone can enjoy.
Every trip includes time to relax on the
riverbank, where we "boil the billy" to make Tea-Tree tea (picked
fresh), and often pan for fine alluvial gold.
Your eco guide Lewis, or "Finn", began rafting the Clutha Mata-Au in 1981. He has a unique affinity with
the upper river environment, and a genuine desire to share it with others.
"Finn" has pioneered "eco rafting", and devotes
countless volunteer hours to river conservation as a native ecosystem restorer,
researcher, writer, and eco activist.
In 2003, he initiated a river conservation project
to create a Clutha
Mata-Au River Parkway,
with a river-length trail, along the entire 338km Clutha Mata-Au
corridor from Lake Wanaka to the Pacific Ocean. And in 2015 he
co-founded the Red
Bridge River Park project focused on native restoration.
eco rafting trips assist families and groups to experience and support
river conservation on one the world's largest and most beautiful rivers.
said there weren't no home like a raft,
after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft
don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft."