With safe, fun whitewater, easy access, and onsite amenities, the Tarawera river in Kawerau ticks all the right boxes. Tour duration and costs are flexible (up to 3 Hours). Minimum age 10 years.

3hours *shorter trips available on request. Contact us for prices

Near its’ source at Lake Tarawera the river flows swiftly, plunging 65m over the spectacular Tarawera Falls before winding through the valley to Kawerau at the base of Pūtauaki  (Mt Edgecombe) – the location for our adventure. This awesome setup at the site of the 2013 IRF World Rafting Championships is perfect for riverbug based school programmes – right in the heart an area rich in culture and natural beauty.

Tarawera Riverbug offers:

  • Crystal clear, clean water  
  • Fun, safe Grade 1 & 2 rapids 
  • Purpose built slalom course
  • Great river access
  • Reliable river flows
  • Toilet amenities 
  • Onsite accommodation at the 60 bed Firmin Lodge
  • Opportunities to try something new 
  • Gett off the beaten-track 
  • Visit a small rural town 
  • Natural attractions and culture

The Tarawera's easy swirling currents and swift, fun whitewater provide the perfect combination for learning the basics and challenging yourself in the rapids. Excellent river access along the riverbank makes for convenience and safety, and allows us to easily carry our bugs back upstream along the walking track for repeat runs of the fun 'Slalom Course' rapids.


  1. Mihi |Welcome
  2. Issue equipment
  3. Briefing 
  4. Karakia (blessing)
  5. Practice on water
  6. Depart from practice pool below the falls
  7. Riverbug descent of Rangitāiki awa
  8. Arrive at take out
  9. Return equipment and change into dry clothes
  10. Depart


  • Riverbug equipment  
  • Programme facilitators

Students Bring: 

  • Swimwear
  • Towel
  • Sun protection 
  • Water, snack/lunch


  • Riverbug.nz is an independently audited, and WorkSafe registered outdoor activity provider. Contact us for copies of our Activity Risk Assessment and Safety Management Systems.

Kawerau itself is an interesting town with lots to offer, and well worth the visit. We've teamed up with  local organisations to bring in a range of options that can built into our programmes, including:

  • Educational hikoi
  • Mill Tour
  • Tarawera Falls
  • Cultural experience
  • Thermal baths