The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company Comes of Age

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Black Water Rafting inventors celebrate 20 years of guiding tourists through New Zealand's underground rivers.

Celebrating its 20th year anniversary, the Legendary Black Water Rafting Company are offering a special 10% discount off all rafting trips booked during the month of October and November. Further details can be found at

"This anniversary is an opportunity to recognise 'The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company' - a highly successful kiwi world-first that still holds a unique position in global adventure tourism 20 years after its birth," says Grant Webster, Chief Operating Officer of Tourism Holding Limited's Leisure Group.

Black Water Rafting is a unique caving experience in which participants, wearing wetsuits and helmets with lights mounted on them, and carrying a rubber inner tube for flotation, venture underground with a professional guide to explore subterranean rivers.

It all started in the early 80s when Peter Chandler, an earth sciences graduate from Waikato University, was the first to take tourist parties on rafting trips through the underground river that runs through Ruakuri Cave (part of the Waitomo cave system).

Then, in 1987, Mr Chandler teamed up with enthusiastic caver John Ash to establish The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company (BWR) as the pre-eminent underground rafting operation in New Zealand.

"What began as a special treat for a brave few has developed into a spectacular tourism attraction that gives visitors of all ages the chance to abseil, weave, jump, and float through a glowworm-studded subterranean wonderland," says Mr Webster.

"We're extremely proud to be involved with the world's first Black Water Rafting company that has truly earned the title 'Legendary' during its 20 years of successful operation."

Tourists come from all over the world for the Legendary Black Water Rafting experience, but mostly from the UK and America. In fact,, a New York-based travel site attracting 4 million visitors per month, recently included The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company in their Top 10 Extreme Vacations list. No wonder the visitor numbers are climbing and have grown significantly in the last year.

BWR offers two different cave adventures - the 3-hour 'Black Labyrinth' tour and the 5-hour 'Black Abyss'. In both, participants are kitted out in wetsuits and helmets with lights attached, and issued with a rubber inner tube for flotation. The 'Black Abyss' adventure is more demanding then the 'Black Labyrinth', adding a 35m abseil, a flying fox in total darkness, and a climb up a waterfall to the basic underground river tour.

Both tours are followed with the warming comfort of hot showers, soup, and bagels - plus free entry into the Waitomo Caves Museum.

"The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company is a classic New Zealand success story," says Mr Webster. "Let's celebrate this world-first achievement."


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