Clarence River Rafting. The Clarence is one of New Zealand's least known yet most interesting and scenically stunning wilderness rivers. It follows a fault line between the Inland and Seaward Kaikoura ranges, the highest peaks outside the Southern Alps, through some of the oldest and most geologically significant limestone in the country. Vegetation is a mix of tussock-covered hills, shrublands, scree slopes, and bare rock, and public access to the river's isolated upper reaches is limited. This locally based company can organize the entire expedition: transport, rafts, trusted and knowledgeable guides, all meals, and tent accommodation. The river is bouncy at best, and is ideal for a beginners' or family trip (minimum age five). By far a raft is the best option to visit this wild and wonderful country. Anything from half-day to fully catered overnight and multiday trips are offered, including either vehicle shuttle to your journey's starting point. Helicopter shuttles can be arranged at extra cost. Trips end at the river mouth, at Clarence township, one hour north of Kaikoura; transfers can be arranged from the Picton ferries, Marlborough and Picton airports, or Hanmer Springs township. 3802 State Hwy. 1, Kaikoura, Canterbury, 7371. 03/319--6993; www.clarenceriverrafting.co.nz. From NZ$120. Closed May–Sept.