Raft company taking ‘a bit of a gamble’ in tourism market

With the temperature just above zero, snow low on the mountains and the sun hidden by the inversion layer, rafting the Hawea River might not seem like a great way to start the weekend.

But it all turned out fine on Saturday for 18 essential workers treated to a trial trip by a brave new start-up company launching itself on to the tourist market.

No-one got wet, and there were wood fires and hot drinks at the end.

Fresh Adventures director and guide Bob McLachlan said the company decided to take "a bit of a gamble" with the business.

Upper Clutha essential workers plough through ‘‘the wave’’ on the Hawea River. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
Upper Clutha essential workers plough through ‘‘the wave’’ on the Hawea River. PHOTO: MARK PRICE

It was a "calculated gamble", in the hope "it will roll on into the future if we do open up the borders".

Fellow director Paul Nicholson said it was intended to provide New Zealanders with the chance to explore "their own backyard".

The company will operate on rivers not renowned for their rapids, such as the Ahuriri, the Matukituki and the Pyke.

"Rafting’s often associated with big water and thrills and spills, but it’s the journey — being able to see our environment from a different perspective," Mr Nicholson said.

"We both believe the future is more about enjoying the environment."

They planned to offer the Hawea River trip to all-comers aged 3 and over.

Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter