Some of the best wilderness rafting trips in New Zealand are on the Grade III–IV Motu River, hidden deep in the mountain terrain of the remote Raukumara Ranges, with long stretches of white water plunging through gorges and valleys to the Bay of Plenty coast. In 1981, after a protracted campaign against hydro-dam builders, the Motu became New Zealand’s first designated “wild and scenic” river. Access by 4WD, helicopter and jetboat makes one- and two-day trips possible, but to capture the essence of this remote region you should consider one of the longer trips in which you’ll see no sign of civilization for three days – a magical and eerie experience.

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