What We Do
We take pride in our versatile range of programs, catering to schools, groups, adults, and businesses. Whether
you’re exploring our backyard at the Peel Forest Scenic Reserve and the Rangitata River or venturing further to
places like Arthur’s Pass, North Canterbury, and Otago, we’re here for you. Our specialty lies in crafting tailor-made
programmes, perfectly aligned with your group’s specific goals and interests.
Our operating season for water-based activities is September-May. All other activities we can run year-round, though we have limited capacity from May-September. Winter Alpine courses only operate between July-August.
White Water Rafting
Hands down our most popular activity! Who doesn’t love a boat ride with a bit of excitement and a view?
We’ve got trips appropriate for kids as young as 8, but enjoyable for all ages. From our local bumpy Grade 2 section to expedition style trip for the older and more adventurous groups, we’ve got a journey fit for your group.
Lower Rangitata Full-Day Rafting
This trip is close to our home and our heart, with the Rangitata River running right through Peel Forest. This Grade 2 section of water is bound to get groups of all ages wide-eyed and smiling.
Bounce your way down the icy blue rapids and take in the scenery of Hutatekerekere and Tarahoa, our local maunga. This river is a classic example of Aotearoa’s glacially-fed rivers, featuring stunning icy blue water and many different braids and channels. You’ll always have an instructor directing your boat, making these trips suitable for a wide range of age groups and ability levels.
With a slightly longer day, we can include a river-safety session as part of our trip, stopping at a few points to practice things like river crossing, white water swimming and raft flips – which can be a lot of fun!
For groups who have already been training to guide themselves, we can offer group-guided trips with an instructor there to offer feedback and take the pressure off any tricky sections.
This is approximately a 6-7 hour day dependant on river flows and can cater for up to 42 participants of a variety of age groups from primary through secondary school and beyond. All transport to/from the river from our Peel Forest Outdoor Centre base is provided. Trips can be run as a 1-day activity, part of larger multi-day camps and for our holiday programs.
Waimakariri Gorge Multi-day Raft Trip
This Grade 2 river is our go-to option for an overnight trip. With magnificent views of Arthur’s Pass from the water and an impressive and steeply walled gorge section, it’s hard to beat! Start off at Mt. White Bridge through a long and beautiful braided section of river as you learn paddling techniques. Set up camp for the night near the gorge entrance and enjoy cooking and eating together in the outdoors. On day two, start off with breath taking views from the gorge as you navigate some of the tricker rapids throughout the day. Exit the gorge near Springfield back into a braided section before you finish up.
This trip requires big days (8+ hours depending on conditions) and a fit group (ages 14+). It is often run as part of a journey-based program, but can also be done as a group-guided exercise where you learn as you go!
Alright, we’ll admit it- a “safety” session doesn’t sound very exciting, but we can promise you won’t find any white boards or PowerPoints here. Instead, this activity is about learning what it takes to navigate a river safely through hands-on trial and error!
Do you know which parts of a river to avoid and where might be fun to play? Learn to spot the difference. Get your feet wet by learning river-crossing skills that can be applied when tramping. Learn how to save your buddies from floating away with man-overboard skills and throw bag techniques. Master the shallow water dive and white-water float positions by floating down a rapid!
Appropriate for a variety of age groups, we can tailor the challenge to suit the needs of the group. We often run half-day sessions as part of your rafting experience on the Rangitata or as an independent half-day activity These standalone sessions can be enjoyed on the nearby Orari River, just 15 minutes from Peel Forest; the Opihi River, adjacent to Raincliff Youth Camp; or as far as the Waimakariri Gorge Bridge.
White Water Kayaking
Learn the skills you need to keep upright and navigate a turbulent environment by kayak. This activity is for those with the time to develop their skills and the drive to learn what it takes to paddle in white water.
Sit-in kayaks require skills that take multiple days to develop and require participants to be age 13+. It involves a progression from flat to moving water, group rescues and can involve rolling practice if time allows.
Single-day white water kayaking is available only to groups with prior experience or training.
See funyak or sit-on-top kayaking for a single-day, no-experience-necessary option.
Our closest teaching rivers are the Rangitata, Orari and Rakaia, but we can also offer longer programmes in Arthur’s Pass, Hurunui or Hawea regions.
These days are jam-packed with learning and are appropriate for groups as young as 13, but are enjoyable for all ages. We offer white water kayaking trips as part of larger multi-day kayak skills camps and as public skills courses suitable for those training for adventure races such as Coast to Coast and Godzone.
Orari Adventure Day
This full day programme is a Peel Forest special, combining two awesome half-day activities at one picturesque location. With two abseils of varying difficulties, groups can work their way up to the big one which features an overhung 20m abseil into Andrews Stream. After the abseil, we’ll get kitted up for a river safety session in the Orari Gorge, learning skills like river crossing and white water swimming. Alternatively, we can substitute in a walk at the nearby Orari Gorge track, which runs through a large regenerating native podocarp forest.
This day is sure to offer a challenge to everyone. Though we can cater to younger students this day is best suited to groups aged 13+.
Funyaks or Sit-on-top Kayaking
A step up from sitting as a passenger while rafting, this activity puts you in charge of your own boat while you bounce down rapids. It’s a great alternative for groups wanting the feel of whitewater kayaking, but who don’t have multiple days to spend on developing the skills.
Our sit-on-top kayaks with fitted thigh braces and two-person inflatable kayaks (funyaks) are stable and safe and provide the opportunity for students to experience a river trip, surfing waves and running rapids after only a few hours of instruction. We can also run training for the inflatable canoe section of Godzone using our funyaks.
This activity is for students ages 11+, but exciting for all ages. We offer this either at the Grade 1 upper Rangitata section at Mesopotamia or the Grade 2 sections of the Rangitata.
Our most common and popular operating locations are the Lower Rangitata, Waimakariri, Orari and Opihi Rivers.
Rivers we frequently operate on:
- Lower Rangitata River (Grade 2)
- Orari River (Grade 2)
- Opihi River (river safety only)
- Rakaia Gorge (Grade 2)
- Waimakariri (Grade 2) (multiday)
- Clarence River (Grade 2+) (multiday)
- Hurunui River (Grade 2)
- Clutha River (Grade 2)
- Hawea River (Grade 2)
We can also operate on other Grade 2 and 3 rivers across the South Island. Get in touch to discuss your specific trip.
Flat Water Kayaking
Paddle, splash and compete with your group in a series of games designed to up your paddling skills and keep everyone entertained. Go on a journey and enjoy the views as you travel across the water.
Appropriate for a variety of groups, we can tailor this session to suit the needs of the group. We run flat water skill progressions as pre-requisites to white-water kayaking, but also as a stand-alone half-day or full-day program.
Groups are given a set of materials and a time-limit and then the race is on. Groups compete against each other to build the best raft. They must race their crafts and return to the finish line before the other teams. Hopefully the home-made rafts survive the journey!
Suitable for ages 13+, this is a half-day activity that encourages creative thinking and teamwork. It’s best when combined with a flat-water kayak session.
We can run flat-water kayaking at a variety of locations around South Canterbury including Lake Opuha, Lake Hood, Caroline Bay, Salt Water Creek and more. We often combine a half-day flat water kayak session with a half-day of raft-building for school and youth groups.
Don’t just go for a walk. Experience the beauty with instructors who love to share their knowledge about our natural world. Depending on the group, we cover skills such as navigation, river crossing, group management, Leave No Trace and fire lighting (if appropriate).
We have a variety of local day walks to choose from. There are many options for walks throughout Peel Forest Scenic Reserve including Huatekerekere (Little Mt Peel). These can be as short as a half-day and as long as a multi-day trip. We can also run walks in Pioneer Park, near Raincliff Youth Camp to cater for groups staying out those ways. There are many other options for tramps around, but many require a multi-day commitment to make the most out of it. See our multi-day trips under the Other tab for some options.
We also run a short local tramp and bush survival day as part of our holiday programmes.
This activity focuses on safety in New Zealand bush and can cover a variety of skills required for outdoor survival/rescue including some fun and unlikely scenarios! These skills can range from fire-lighting and cooking, trap building, shelter/bivvy building, rescue techniques/stretcher construction, edible and useful plant ID and Leave No Trace principals.
This is typically a half-day activity and is often combined with a half-day of orienteering, activity-based learning or tramping. We cater these sessions for groups as young as 8, but can tailor them to be challenging and informative enough for participants of all ages. These sessions can be run almost anywhere – though our preferred location is at home amongst native Peel Forest bush or at Pioneer Park, near Raincliff Camp.
We run bush days, which include a bush survival session, as part of our holiday programmes.
How good are you with directions? Orienteering is a sport that involves participants finding their way across country using a map to locate designated markers. During our orienteering sessions, we focus on first teaching basic map-reading skills, identifying features and map orientation. Advanced courses teach compass use and grid-references.
We have a permanent orienteering course set up which is set at an orange level (easy to intermediate) that usually takes students around 90-120 minutes to complete depending on skill and fitness. For groups with knowledgeable participants, we can hire out maps to run this activity on their own.
Who says we have to stay inside when temps drop? Embrace the cold and the snow! Depending on your group’s outcomes, we’ll cover skills like walking on snow using crampons or snowshoes, self-arresting, route-finding and recognising avalanche terrain, snow caving and avalanche transceiver skills.
We can accommodate most types of groups by varying the skills and terrain covered throughout the course to include ages 12+. We offer skills courses for those interested in applying these learnings in their personal endeavours.
High Ropes/ Low Ropes
By far our most popular land-based activity, the Project Adventure Challenge Ropes Course, located in Geraldine, is an excellent opportunity to develop teamwork, confidence and communication skills. The course consists of approximately 10 elements at a low level and 14 at high level, requiring belaying.
Examples of some of our elements include:
- Postman’s walk with one wire for your feet and one wire for your hands
- Chicken walk with no wires for your hands and two for your feet
- Giant’s Ladder/Dangle Duo where two people help each other get up a giant ladder of ever-increasing distance
With a full-day (5 hours) at the course, groups start off by building trust and confidence on the low rope elements and different activity-based challenges. When it’s time to move on to the high ropes, participants are taught to belay each other and can then work their way around the elements in teams, providing support and encouragement to each other as they progress. There are a variety of elements to choose from and it is up to each person to decide how high they want to go. For the groups who are up to the extra final challenge, we’ll run the Leap of Faith. With a half-day it’s straight into the high ropes to get a maximum amount of time to try out all of the higher elements.
We run this course for a variety of groups and have been excited to recently open the course to children as young as 8. For ages 11 and below, an adult is required to belay. Don’t let the age limits fool you! This course can be a big mental challenge for all ages.
Reach for the top! Scramble, climb, shake and shimmy your way up a natural cliff with outdoor rock climbing. Learn how to belay and then choose your level of challenge and height with a variety of climbs of all different difficulties available set up for top-rope climbing. At some locations, we can also run bouldering (climbing at a lower level without ropes), which is often a good way to practice movement skills you can also use up high. A full-day of climbing can be complimented by an abseiling session. Learn how to go up and down!
Our go-to climbing spot is Spur Road Crag, located just outside of Timaru, 45-minutes from Peel Forest featuring good beginner friendly climbs and a mix of intermediate and advanced terrain. Nearby Mt Horrible, Timaru, boasts an even bigger challenge with intermediate to advanced level climbs only. We can also run climbing at a variety of locations across Canterbury including the Port Hills in Christchurch, Castle Hill in Arthur’s Pass and Woolshed Creek in Mt Somers.
We can cater for kids as young as 8. Kids 8-11 years old require an adult to belay.
We like to start our abseiling with a series of progressions and time to practice attaching themselves to the rope and descending on low angle to flat terrain. This helps set each student up for success once they reach the edge. Once they’re there, it’s up to each person to look down and face their fears with their group cheering them on. It forces you to a decision point where you must say “I’ll do it” or “I won’t” and it’s empowering for everyone know their limits or extend them.
Emily Falls in Peel Forest Scenic reserve is our closest abseil site, featuring an abseil down a waterfall through native bush and is often combined with a walk through the bush back to the Eco Lodge. Check out our Orari Adventure Day activity to read more about the Orari Gorge abseil site. Our other most used site is directly across the road from Raincliff Youth Camp which has a few different challenge levels to choose from. We can also combine abseiling with a climbing day at one of the Timaru crags.
Depending on the age, ability and goals of your group we can recommend a site for you as they all come with their own challenge level.
Orari Adventure Day
This full day programme is a Peel Forest special, combining two awesome half-day activities at one picturesque location. With two abseils of varying difficulties, groups can work their way up to the big one which features an overhung 20m abseil into Andrews Stream gorge. After the abseil, get kitted up for a river safety session in the Orari river, learning skills like river crossing and white water swimming. Alternatively, we can substitute in a walk at the nearby Orari Gorge Track, which runs through a large regenerating native podocarp forest.
This day is sure to offer a challenge to everyone. Though we can cater to younger students this day is best suited to groups aged 13+. Although it is close to Peel Forest in distance, the gravel road takes about 45-minutes to drive from Peel Forest Outdoor Centre and is not suitable for long, low-clearance vehicles (such as big vans) as there are a few fords, so discuss alternative transport options with us instead if that is what your group is traveling in.
We can tailor multi-day journeys to suit your group’s outcomes all over Te Waiponamu through a variety of pursuits. These activities are often combined with a few single-day activities based out of Peel Forest or a tramp for a whole week of fun capped off with an expedition. Check out some of the multi-day activities we’ve run recently:
Rafting and Kayaking
- 2+ day Waimakariri Gorge (Grade 2)
- 2-day Hurunui River (Grade 2)
- 5-6 day Clarence River (Grade 2+)
- 3-day Grey River (Grade 2-3)
- 1 day Hāwea + 1 day Clutha Rivers (Grade 2)
- 2+ day Peel Forest Scenic Reserve
- 3-5 day Mt Somers (can be combined with rock climbing)
- 2+ days Hakatere Conservation Park
- 3+ days Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park
- 2+ days Arthur’s Pass
- 2+ days Craigieburn
- 2+ days Wanaka/Hāwea
Activity-based learning (ABL) brings groups together to work on solving problems, completing challenges whilst working as a cohesive team to achieve them. The focus of the day is on group dynamics and the components of a group that go together to form an effective team. Breaking the ice, communication, trust, problem-solving, and personal responsibility are all part of the day.
The groups progress through a variety of activities with the instructor drawing out the learnings through front loading and group reflection. We can also set this up as a challenge event in teams where students rotate around a series of activities with a competitive element to it, if desired.
This is a half-day activity which can easily be combined with things such as a day of high/low ropes, bush survival or tramping for schools and groups or teams and businesses to make for a full-day of team-bonding.
As a centre dedicated to outdoor and environmental education, we’re pleased to offer environmental learning and volunteer opportunities at our Eco Lodge.
This is a very broad umbrella to cover all of the other types of sessions focused specifically on our environment that we could run such as native flora/fauna ID sessions, living off-grid at the Eco Lodge, tree-planting, pest control, and the significance of maintaining our little slice of bush!
We’re very passionate about these subjects, but don’t often have the time to speak to groups in-depth about them, so please let us know in what ways you’d like us to include environmental learning in your program. We’d love to!
Next Courses and Programmes
Choose your adventure
In an increasingly digital world spent inside, we are motivated to create unique experiences to challenge people to get out & be enriched by the great outdoors that is uniquely New Zealand. We are proud to have developed the confidence and skills of many of our clients and are humbled by the positive and supportive feedback we receive.