Lonely Planet Rates Queenstown River Sledging as One of World's Best Activities

Posted by Travel News in Travel News
Monday, 18 February 2013
an image Serious Fun Riversurfing

River sledging down the Kawarau River in Queenstown has been named first in the water adventures category by world travel leader Lonely Planet.

Featured in a glossy new coffee table book, Lonely Planet Great Adventures, author Ben Fogle cited the activity as his “best” water-based adventure.

He said it rated alongside phenomenal other experiences such as rafting the Amazon River and kayaking with Orca whales in British Columbia.

Local Queenstown companies Serious Fun River Surfing and Frogz White Water Sledging are the only two operators on the Kawarau River and both pioneered river sledging in New Zealand in the late 1980s.

Serious Fun River Surfing managing director Neil Harrison said it was an “amazing” compliment for river surfing to have been chosen alongside some of the world’s best adventure activities.

“The fact that a publication as influential as Lonely Planet chose us as number one in the entire world is huge for us,” he said.

“We and the Milford Track are the only two New Zealand activities included in the book which makes it an even bigger achievement.

“We’ve long-known that river surfing is the best adventure you can have in the water and now the rest of the world knows too.”

Author Ben Fogle raved about white water sledging in Queenstown, encouraging readers to get up close and personal with the white water activity so the river could “have its wicked way with you”.

“The river speeds you past standing waves until at last you feel the confidence to take on some of these monsters,” he said.

“Approaching the next rapid, you turn the board, reversing into the wave. As you hit it, you kick like an Olympic swimmer and suddenly you’re atop the wave, surfing it, even if only for a couple of seconds.

“Exhausted, relieved and energised, your emotions as turbulent as the river. You may never raft again after this.”

Serious Fun’s story began in 1989 when Jon Imhoof, a backpacker from Hawaii, started taking friends body boarding on the Kawarau River. The company has grown ever since and in 2010 became the first whitewater boarding company in New Zealand to achieve Qualmark status. Serious Fun now has over 16 guides and staff and take twice daily trips offering the longest Grade 4 rapid river surfing experience in New Zealand.

The Lonely Planet accolade comes in the same month Serious Fun River Surfing was named as one of the top activities to do in Queenstown by the New York Post.

Frogz White Water Sledging is a pioneer in the industry and runs a similar experience on the Kawarau River using sledges rather than surf boards. It operates daily trips from Wanaka and Queenstown and has been operating since 1991.

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