Why is this topic dead? Is there a better place to connect?

I’m getting ready to spend a month (or more) in Australia, and probably a month (or more) in New Zealand. Is there now a more heavily trafficked forum for connecting with local packrafters? It seems like this thread died in 2016, or am I missing something? I tried googling for other forums but they’re all pretty dated subthreads too.


Amen… Thinking the same, though I only wish I was in Australia or NZ…

Try Reddits r/packrafting…
It’s a little more active… and I’m trying to reactivate it haha… maybe post-pandemic people are busy partying…

Sorry… noticed now you meant specifically the Australian NZ topic…

Hey Joe, the more active any part of the forum is, the better. But yep, planning a trip to AU/NZ soon and wanted to get the ball rolling on possible floats. I find a few really expensive tour guides charging thousands for what should cost a few friends some gas money. Obviously hoping to go that gas money route. Who are these people blowing three grand per trip? Not anyone I know.


Haha, true that.
Oh you are so right, I’m a world traveler, and touring/guiding must be one of the most unregulated markets out there… regardless if it’s jungles, rivers, rapids, cities or seas… some want thousands and some hundreds. Some seem super legit but completely incompetent and some super sketchy but are true experts… I can’t make heads or tails of it… but, demand=market value…
Hope you find someone… have you tried Facebook and the regular social media?

P.s. if they have a clue what we spend on Packrafts and safety gear they might think packrafters are rich. And therefore prices go up…

It’s really sad. People used to just hang out, meet new friends, do things together because it’s fun. Now everyone sees each other as a money bag.

But there are still some good ones out there. I met a guy on APA who helped setup a really nice overnight 25mi float of the AZ Gila Box. And I bet there are plenty of everyday people in AU/NZ like that. I just gotta find them.

If I was willing to support the blight on humanity that for-profit data-mining social media companies have become, it’d probably be easier, but I patently refuse to use FB or any of their products, same with the rest of the money-money-money people-mining corps, although google is virtually impossible to avoid.

Good point about the cost of gear sending $$ into the eyes of tour guides.


O’ like-mind… money bags and oppertunists, prices go up and greed follows… I don’t use FB either so I’m usually in the same boat… but there is probably a packrafting forum there with a more social “meet up” approach…
I would look at YouTube videos from the AU/NZ scene and just look for contact info if they seem to know some nice spots, I’d write… people who like to film themselves and share it usually has ten different ways of contact and are usually pretty open and helpful…

AU/NZ Seems like a Gold mine for packraft experience though… it’s definitely on my must-go list.

Good Luck to ya’ may the spirits of adventure watch over you on your travels!

I had done exactly what you recommended earlier today, and I just got a hit back from Barny Young (in all those kokopelli vids) and he pointed me to the upcoming meetup of the NZ packrafting association called PRANZ. It was just not showing up high enough in google searches I guess, or I was using the wrong keywords: https://www.packrafting.org.nz/

They also have a partner site with trip ideas at: https://www.packraftingtrips.nz/

Thanks for the good vibes, Joel. Let’s do a float this spring sometime yo. Animas in Durango was a blast this year. I want to do a lower flow run late June or July on the silverton section. There’s supposedly a guy in Durango who leads people down it when the flow drops. I’ve only done the actual spring high-to-mid flow Class IV-V big raft whitewater trip, but packrafting it looks like it’ll be a blast.


Great! Ye comes to show, there are always ways to get some help in tight-knit communities like packrafting, WW running. Guess it’s a good thing it’s still a rare “sport” if it was too popular everything would be profit-driven and no spots would be sacred.

That would be great! But I live across the world from both the U.S and Australia. In Europe… so might be hard. though I am back to traveling (post-pandemic lift off) so maybe not completely impossible. But in that case for future planning.

Heard a lot about these Colorado spots, would be fun as hell! but in all honesty I have never done a class V in my life…
I think my coming Gnarwhal could handle some crazyness though…

One of these days I’ll get to Europe, and if you ever get to the southwestern U.S. or Colorado, shoot me a note.

To be clear, the Class IV-V Upper Animas Silverton section trip was on a big raft with a guide who had done it many times, and three other people all rowing for our dear lives. Lol. It was painful at times, but overall a blast, and I’d definitely do it again.

I’m really looking forward to more trips like that in big rafts, and moving up to Class III in packrafting. I’d venture to guess that Class III-IV in a packraft is probably equivalent to Class VI in a big raft with a skilled guide – much more difficult and terrifying. But I’m still learning so take that with a grain of salt. Class II+ packrafting 25 mi trip was definitely fun, and I’d do that again too, but in terms of whitewater and adrenaline it was a tad boring aside from a few big wave trains and one or two boils. I learned a ton though, and it was definitely a good trip to start with since there were very few moments of stress, and plenty of time to get my raft, pack, paddle, and rigging all dialed in.


Hey vangogh, thanks for posting on this topic! The forum was offline for awhile while it migrated over to a new platform, which explains why the topic looked dead. That being said, the American Packrafting Association does have a mostly American member base. But this is a great place to look for answers!

I’d also suggest reaching out to Mark Oates - maybe try messaging him on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/mark.oates/). He’s an outdoor educator in Tasmania, which I hear is a great place to boat in AUS. He could probably point you in the right direction for local contacts there. Hopefully PRANZ can help you out for trip planning in New Zealand.

When do you plan on going? Would love to hear about how your trip goes!

Hey Sarah, thanks for the feedback!

Good call on Mark Oates. I had seen his name come up a few times on tuber vids, but got lost down the NZ rabbit hole after connecting with Barny. Thanks for the reminder yo! I looked at a bunch of Tasmania floats yesterday too, and while the water isn’t that sapphire blue of NZ, it’s probably a lot warmer too. NZ looks gorgeous but cold, even in the summer sometimes it’s lows in the 40’s at lower elevations, so it’s probably icey cold on the Whataroa. Still, those blue waters…

I’m kind of open ended and discovered that it cost the same amount of points to layover in Fiji for 3 weeks on the way down there. Christmas at the blue lagoon in the Yasawas is my present to myself. Before that, I’m hoping to dive the rainbow reef (supposedly best in the world), and Baqa lagoon (Shark time!). But I’m doing it all on a shoestring and will have to get my PADI cert while there. Then head to Sydney to watch the fireworks on the bridge for New Years, then maybe Whitsunday island and great barrier reef, and after that I just want to packraft. Vaguely aiming to make the NZ packrafting meetup in late Jan, but otherwise Feb in NZ rafting/exploring.

I’m trying to do it on a shoestring budget, which is not easy. Tourists are treated like slot machines these days. Ugh. But supporting good local villages as much as possible (fiji) and adding to river awareness and conservation efforts (AU/NZ) is the plan.

I need a travel buddy! Drop everything and come join me yo! I already have to pay for the lodging and rental cars.


Sounds like it’s going to be an awesome trip! I spent a year working in Australia and spent part of it near the Whitsunday Islands - beautiful place.

I’m not sure you’ll find that Tasmania is much warmer than south island NZ - it’s similar latitude, but maybe the rivers aren’t as cold since they aren’t glacially fed! Although that is what makes it such a beautiful shade of blue. I’ve been to both countries but haven’t packrafted in either yet, it’s on my list! I’d love to drop everything and join, but I’ll just have to make do with your trip report when you get back :slight_smile: What sort of river awareness and conservation efforts do you hope to do? One of the biggest environmental campaigns in Australia happened in Tasmania in the 70s - blocking the construction of the Franklin dam. Pretty neat!

I hope you do’ there’s lot of amazing spots… I’ll definitely do that! It’s been a dream to get up there so it ain’t far away. Au/NZ trip would be wicked to I think the US comes first for me though…

Hope u have a blast!

ye big water rafting seem fun as hell’ don’t know enough people who like watersports like me to try it and haven’t joined any groups/guides though’ but I’m gonna try it. Ye class I-II in a packraft is fun but maybe not a heart stopper or adrenaline shot’ class III can be in a responsive boat and right circumstances’ IV V these can definitely be heart stoppers… I’m gonna get there but I got a long way to go technique-wise’ what packraft/s do you use?

P s. Glimpsed yours and Sarahs lil chat. that’s a mighty fine journey right there! when the northern hemisphere is freezing and depressing (sorry winter lovers) you’ll be shoe string or no string enjoying the f# out of life’ that’s the spirit!

C’mon Sarah’ drop it all, what is packrafting if not the chance to explore and adventure on a whim;)

Damn this got me looking at a Sri Lanka journey I’ve been wanting to take for January… don’t know if there’ll be packrafting’ but there’ll be jungle trekking backpacking and bushwacking’ got a friend who used to work as a jungle guide there so he hooks me up cheap (shoe string n all) tryina force my girl to go. But she scared.



So cool you’ve spent time down under. It’ll be my first time in the region. Got any tips on must-do’s in Oz?

I’m really feeling the weight of my happy-go-lucky existence lately, particularly the airline flights (so much CO!), and just generally being a goof instead of being back at the usual non-profit career. I got burned out in 2020 and have been on “sabbatical” ever since, first travelling, then building a high-tech camper with crazy amounts of solar, batteries, and 24/7 sun-powered 42 SEER minisplit a/c and heat pump. I think the van build actually burnt me out even more, lol. But after all that self-indulgent spending, I want this trip to be more than just about me. I think the PRANZ website and it’s discussion of efforts in NZ got me thinking I need to use that meetup (assuming I make it, lots of TBD’s and uncertainties still at this point) to ask the locals what I can do to help. I’d rather take their lead than show up and try to tell them what I think. Same with AU, but at very least I’ll always carry a trash bag to collect trash along “tramps” (as Kiwis seem to call them), and do some river maintenance if I get out with a packrafting group. Got any suggestions? I’m open to ideas!