Godzone Day 2 - Rafting Thriller on Shotover River




All the action on day two of the GODZone adventure race is focused around the famous Skippers Canyon near Queenstown and the Shotover River.


Whitewater rafting has been introduced for the first time to the seven-day expedition race. Race Director Warren Bates says it will be thrilling.


“ This rafting section is really waking the teams up this morning as there are some massively exciting rapids. It’s thanks to Queenstown Rafting who are one of the originals to commercially raft in New Zealand that we have been able to include it.”


The Shotover River is graded 3 – 5 (5 is highest grade commercially in the world) and is considered the hardest river to raft and navigate in the Queenstown area.


“ Some of the rapids on this river have fairly exhilarating names like Aftershock, Squeeze, Toilet, Pinball and Jaws to name a few. Everyone is going to have a blast with the Queenstown Rafting guides providing excellent professional support along the way,” says Bates.


Defending champions team Yealands Family Wines (31) have constantly elbowed Wanaka’s team Tiki Tour (13) for first position over the last 24 hours of racing. Nelson’s team Swordfox (17) and Torpedo 7 (21) are holding third and fourth position, and are expected to maintain their placings.

Photos Johny Cook Godzone

“There was a clear strategy by the leading teams.” says Race Director Warren Bates, “They went super fast over the 25km Bullendale trek in as much light as possible, arriving at TA3 with plenty of time to get some sleep before the dark zone on the river was lifted at 6.45am.”


The first two teams, Yealands and Tiki Tour, arrived at TA3 at midnight, punching in a solid 4 hours sleep. As more teams slowly arrived throughout the night, some chose to rest at the TA, others decided to kip right by the rafts, ready to jump into the river at first light.


“It’s unusual for the leading teams to get any sleep on the first day. What we’re really interested is if the leading teams will now try to sleep again, they potentially have only two nights left and might push through.” Warren adds.

These leading teams have now completed the spectacular abseil descent from the historic Skippers Bridge in Skippers Canyon before rafting.  Only the full course PURE teams will participate in the abseil that is being operated by a commercial operator Adventure Southland.


The 96 meter long Skippers suspension bridge is 91 meters high above the river in the canyon below is one of the highest and most spectacular in New Zealand.

Current Rankings

  1. Team Tiki Tour
  2. Team Yealands Family Wines
  3.  Team Swordfox
  4. Team Torpedo 7
  5. The Sneaky Weasel Gang


Photos attached: Johnny Cook