Black water rafting



limestone cave

Frank, 17 years: Black water rafting

You have probably heard of white water rafting, right? Well, I am into a new thing called black water rafting. It started in my hometown of Waitomo.

Black water rafting involves putting on a wetsuit and a hard hat, and entering a pitch black limestone cave. Then you take a rubber ring, a bit like a tyre and jump into the freezing cold water with it either around your waist or under your bottom.

To be honest, I think jumping into the water is the scariest part of the experience, because sometimes you have to fall a couple of metres before you hit the water, and in the dark cave that can seem like a really long way. Also, you never know what creatures might be lurking in the water underneath you…

When you get into the water you float along, sometimes at quite high speed, through the cave system before coming out further down the river. The caves are full of stalagmites and stalactites, and several places there are impressive fossils. 

Because you are in a rubber ring, you are much closer to the water than when you are in a raft, so even though you don’t meet the rapids that white water rafters travel through, because you are so much closer, the small rough areas seem much larger than they really are. Also, the dark makes the whole experience seem much scarier. I have done a lot of white water and black water rafting, and black water is definitely my favourite.


a) Which sport is Frank's favourite?
b) Where does the sport come from?
c) What kind of clothes and equipment are used in this sport?
d) What is scary about this sport?
e) Why does Frank enjoy this sport, do you think?
f) Use the link below to find out more about this sport.