Bay of Plenty

Kia ora 

Welcome to our awesome riverbug adventures! 

     River :  A large natural stream of flowing water
     Bug :  Small insect, an enthusiastic interest in something

Discover your inner adventurer and experience the thrill of riding the rapids on a funky inflatable riverbug. Drift through hidden canyons, encounter the local wildlife and learn about our special places.

Riverbug.NZ offers riverbug tours, courses, and activity programmes around Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatāne, catering for groups and individuals from age 5 years upwards. Simply choose your adventure level and get ready for an unforgettable experience.

As riverbug pioneers we love sharing our passion, and safety and appreciation of our natural treasures are at the heart of everything we do.

Get the River 'Bug' – with the Bay of Plenty's unique new water adventure!
Kia ora 


What our guests are saying...

Tours & Courses

Scenic or Whitewater?

Our Riverbug Tours on Grade 1 Whitewater are suitable for participants 5 years or older. Our Riverbug Tours on Grade 2 Whitewater are suitable for participants 1.25m or taller.


**SPECIAL WINTER TRIP** Ride the rapids of the crystal clear Tarawera River beneath the spectacular backdrop of Pūtauaki – Mt. Edgecombe near the rural town of Kawerau and relax in thermal baths afterwards. An awesome introduction to riverbugging at the site of the 2013 IRF World Rafting Championships. Suitable for participants 1.25m or taller. $99

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Riverbugs mixed with generous portions of whitewater in a breathtaking gorge on the Rangitāiki river in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Great fun for adults and kids 1.25m or taller. Half Day Tour from $119.

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Experience a roller-coaster rapid ride and surf the “Wairoa Wave“' during the Sunday water releases in the Wairoa Gorge near Tauranga. A totally awesome 3 hour adventure for adults and kids 1.25m or taller. $99.

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Explore the scenic Wairoa valley near Tauranga from the riverbug perspective. Drift with swirling currents, play fun games, and encounter birdlife. A unique family adventure where 5 year olds can even join the fun! Half day from $89.

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Riverbug Course

Take a riverbug course and learn paddling technique, rapid navigation and river safety from the riverbug experts. Course content, location and duration can be tailored to your needs. Get a group together or take a private lesson. Contact us for prices and details.

TARAWERA RIVERBUG – New Adventure on the Tarawera River

**Winter Special** $99

Join us for some awesome Riverbug fun on the Slalom Section of the Tarawera River in Kawarau, Bay of Plenty. 😀 Guided Riverbug Tour 😀 First-timer Friendly 😀 Fun, Grade 2 Whitewater 😀 Great activity for families & friends 😀 3 hours total time

Meet the Team

Riverbug is our passion that we love to share.

We love our mahi (work), and supporting community and healthy lifestyles through enjoyment of the outdoors is at the heart of what we do. We run guide training and riverbug programmes for rangatahi (youth) and Riverbug activities for community groups under the guidance of riverbug pioneers Don (Ngāti Kahungunu), and Sabine (Germany). When you join us on the water you'll be helping us to help support our community.

“te tautoko ngātahi i te hapori“ supporting the community together

Safe Hands

Don and Sabine have been "Team Riverbug" since bringing the sport to Austria in 2007. Together they grounded riverbug tour and riverbug manufactur company riverbug.me and established a growing riverbug community in Europe and other countries around the world. They are the riverbug experts, and have developed Safe Operating Procedures and guide training programmes for riverbug operators.

With over 50 years of combined whitewater experience between them – you know you'll be in safe hands

Do something different for your Christmas Party or special occasion...


Simply choose a Riverbug Tour or dollar value and send us any text as you'd like to it appear on the voucher, along with any special wishes and the address to send it to. We'll print the voucher and post it to you or email it as a pdf. Or if you already have a tour and date in mind you can just book it in.

School Programmes 

Inspire, motivate and challenge your students with our innovative riverbug based educational programmes.

Looking for innovative new extra curriculum activities?

We provide a range of whitewater and calm water riverbug based activity programmes catering for primary, intermediate, secondary, and tertiary students, with focus on fun, learning, teamwork and building confidence. Students are encouraged to experiment, discover their capabilities and challenge themselves through fun learning experiences in calm water and whitewater river environments, ocean, lake or swimming pool. Our programmes incorporate Te Reo Māori and can also combine riverbug with other activities such as informative cultural hikoi, stand up paddle board, MTB, and visits to natural attractions to create suitable packages designed to achieve your goals. NZQA units can also be incorporated into the programmes. Along with our regular half day and full day class outings we also coordinate programmes for school camps. Contact us to discuss your requirements and we'll be happy to put together programmes to suit your needs.


The Tarawera awa in Kawerau is an exciting new addition to our riverbug programmes that ticks all the boxes. From half day & full day outings to multi day camps, there are great opportunities to get of the beaten track and try something different. Programmes start from $35, minimum age 10 years.

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Students will love this calm water riverbug programme with fun games, initiative challenges and a touch of Māori culture. We can tailor the programme to suit students age, number of participants, duration and location. SUITABLE FOR AGES 5+

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Treat your students to some riverbug fun on easy moving water and swirly currents on the lower Wairoa awa starting from the Ruahihi Power Station 20 minutes from Tauranga. Play some fun games, encounter wildlife and learn about the local stories along the way. SUITABLE FOR AGES 8+

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Join us on the Rangitāiki awa for an extra special action packed class outing. Set in a stunning gorge, we'll ride the rapids, drift past cascading waterfalls and discover the geology and stories of the area. Suitable for participants age 10+

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Team Building


Riverbugs are great tools for Team Building whether on a whitewater river or calm water. Our Team Building programs will engage participants with fun games and challenges, where participation, problem solving and teamwork are the primary goals. Choose one of our program locations around Tauranga, the greater Bay of Plenty – Te Moana a Toi, or venue of your choice. Let us know your requirements and we’ll tailor a program to suit.

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Maurie Kjar Memorial Swimming Pool


A visit to Kawerau's awesome free thermal pools is the perfect way to relax after our Action Bug tour on the Rangitāiki awa. Yep that's right – the pools are free!

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Tarawera Falls


The Tarawera awa disappears underground then reemerges gushing from the cliff face as the spectacular Tarawera Falls.

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Laid-back coastal town


At around 40 minutes drive from our Action Bug Rangitaiki Tour, Whakatāne, the largest town in the Eastern Bay of Plenty is well worth the visit while you're in the area.

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McLaren Falls Park


Visit spectacular McLaren Falls and marvel at picturesque exotic tree plantings just up the road from our Riverbug Tours on the Wairoa awa.

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Redwood Lane Blueberries


PYO organic blueberries, real fruit ice-cream and home made cosmetics – right at the finishing place of our Fun Bug Wairoa tour

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Fernland Spa


Soak in a natural thermal spring just minutes away from where our tours on the Wairoa awa.

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Riverbugs are stable, easy to paddle and have unique safety features, making them among the safest forms of single person craft for using in whitewater. 
Previous experience is not necessary to enjoy our riverbug tours, in fact most of our guests are first timers. 
Yes, we do have operational procedures for Covid 19 according to government guidelines in place. 
For riverbug tours on whitewater Grade 2 and above it is required that you are able to swim, however for Grade 1 rivers and calm water, it's not a requirement.
We are well equipped for all weather and will only cancel a trip if conditions are outside our safety parameters, in which case we will inform you of any cancellation a soon as possible.
Though riverbugs are very stable there's always a chance of capsizing if you lean the wrong way! Don't worry though, it's all part of the fun and it's easy enough to flip your bug back upright and get on it again from the river.
A good question, and very much dependant on the health confidence and fitness of the individual. Calm water bugging activities should be OK as they can be as active of relaxing as you choose. Whitewater riverbugging though is not recommended in the later stages of pregnancy. We recommend first consulting a relevant health professional for advice.


  • Lake Aniwhenua Camping Area


  • Redwood Lane Blueberries, 17 Redwood Lane, Tauriko, Tauranga 3171, New Zealand


  • 1443 State Highway 29, Tauriko, Lower Kaimai 3171, New Zealand


  • Firmin Lodge, Waterhouse St, Kawerau 3127, New Zealand





We understand that travel plans may change due to illness, injury or people simply changing their minds. In turn, we ask our guests to understand that we may have turned away a number of keen people for those reserved seats on our riverbug tours and may have incurred staffing, food, transport and booking expenses.

Finally, our experience tells us to respect natural and human factors relating to riverbug activities and to operate only within the parameters of our Safety Management Systems. 

  1. All prices quoted are in $NZD. Bookings will be confirmed once full payment is made
  2. Seats on Riverbug.nz Tours are limited and we cannot guarantee  bookings until receiving full payment prior to trip departure.                          
  3. Client Cancellation Policy
    • Client cancellation within 24 hours from the tour departure will incur a 50% cancellation fee.
    • All other client cancellations will incur a 10% administration fee.
    • Covid 19 related cancellations will receive a full refund or a credit.
    • There will be no refund on any portion or part of a guided trip once the trip has departed.
    • Client 'no-shows' who fail to notify cancellation will not receive a refund.

  4. Riverbug.nz reserve the right to cancel or amend any tour for any reason within or beyond our control. In the case that riverbug.nz cancels a tour, clients will be offered a full refund, credit, or rescheduling of the activity.

  5. Bookings are accepted on the understanding that customers appreciate the possible risks in outdoor adventure activities such as but not limited to, injury, uneven terrain, inclement weather, other river users.
  6. All clients must warrant that they have acceptable fitness and no medical condition that will cause them concern during the tour activities. It is at the discretion of riverbug.nz guides if any customer is deemed incapable of any activities.

    Disclaimer:  Whilst all care and attention is given, Riverbug.nz , its staff and agents will not assume or accept any liability or responsibility for any claim, loss, damage, personal injury, loss or damage to any personal equipment, inconvenience, costs and expenses, delays or irregularities of any nature occasioned by any circumstances.


The Bay of Plenty is currently at Level 1.

That means we can enjoy sharing our riverbug adventures with others under the safety guidelines set out by the NZ Government.

Because our riverbug activities take part outside in large open areas, and not in confined spaces, the situations where you are in close contact (within a meter) are very minimal. Due to these factors, we believe we are a low-risk environment for the spread of any illness.

Even so, we want to let you know that we are taking measures to do our part in minimizing any potential spread of, or exposure to viral infection in order to protect our clients and staff. Our hygiene regime ensures that equipment worn by clients is cleaned after each use and safe to use. We maintain records of participants on our trips in the event they are needed for contact tracing.

If you have any questions or concerns in relation to coming and safely enjoying riverbug.nz's unique experiences then please contact us.