Rafting, also known as cave tubing or black water rafting, involves floating on underground rivers and navigating caves with inflated inner tubes. It emerged in New Zealand in the late 1980s and is now offered by companies worldwide. Participants wear wetsuits and headlamps and can explore unique natural features. The sport can be physically demanding and is done in groups, with different levels of difficulty available.
Rafting is a form of extreme sport which consists of floating on underground rivers, navigating networks of caves and small waterfalls. Some people prefer the term “cave tubing,” which they think is a more accurate description of the sport. Several companies around the world offer rafting tours, particularly in New Zealand where the sport was born.
The term “black water rafting” is a bit of a misnomer, as the water is not black and there are no rafts involved. Instead, participants don wetsuits to protect themselves from shivering and then put on inflated inner tubes. Inner tubes keep them afloat and protect them from potentially painful bumps against the walls of the caves they navigate. Most blackwater beamers also wear headlamps, so they can see what they’re doing.
Typically, rafting is done in groups, and in many cases, group members link up with each other to ensure they don’t get separated. Once everyone has dressed up and jumped into the water, the journey begins. Depending on the caves involved, this underground rafting twist can be relatively calm or it can be a physically demanding adventure; some trips even combine rock climbing with rafting.
This sport emerged in the late 1980s in Waitomo, New Zealand. This area is famed for its natural beauty and large caves, and black water rafting was initially designed as a special treat for the particularly daring or perhaps foolhardy. With sophistication, white water rafting has been made accessible to people in a wide range of physical conditions, with most companies offering different levels of difficulty to suit the casual vacationer and outdoor enthusiast. You can also book trips for corporate retreats and other trust or bond building groups.
Caves can be quite interesting to explore, as they have an assortment of intriguing natural features, from strange rock formations to unique glow-in-the-dark mushrooms. On a rafting trip, people can see a wealth of interesting things underground, and can also experience the sensation of being hurled down underground rapids and drifting at a leisurely pace through large underground pools.