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Queenstown river surfing 'best water adventure in the world' - Lonely Planet

Published: 6:04PM Thursday February 14, 2013 Source: ONE News

  • Tourists river surf on the Kawarau River, Queenstown, with Serious Fun River Surfing. (Source: Southern PR)
    Tourists river surf on the Kawarau River, Queenstown, with Serious Fun River Surfing. - Source: Southern PR
  • Tourists river surf with Frogz White Water Sledging on the Kawarau River, Queenstown. (Source: Southern PR)
    Tourists river surf with Frogz White Water Sledging on the Kawarau River, Queenstown. - Source: Southern PR

River sledging down the Kawarau River in Queenstown has been named by Lonely Planet as the best water adventure in the world.

In the popular travel guide's new book, Lonely Planet Great Adventures, the activity tops the list of water-based adventures for thrill-seekers around the world.

The glossy new coffee table book says the Kiwi adrenaline rush beats other phenomenal experiences, such as rafting the Amazon River and kayaking with Orca whales in British Columbia.

River sledging has been pioneered by New Zealanders since the late 1980s, with local Queenstown companies Serious Fun River Surfing and Frogz White Water Sledging the only two operators on the Kawarau River.

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."

The book raves about river sledging in Queenstown, encouraging readers to get up close and personal with the white water activity so the river can "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," it says.

"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."

The Lonely Planet accolade comes in the same month river surfing was named one of the top activities to do in Queenstown by the New York Post.

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