Holidays are all about experiencing something different, challenging yourself, or just getting away from normal life. And there’s nothing better than going for the extreme if you want to plan a holiday to remember. Forget cycling holidays in France, or caravanning in the south of Spain, pick a destination that offers you the chance to get wild and wet on a family trip of a lifetime. We’re talking white water rafting adventures here, in case you haven’t already guessed, and here are my favourite places to jump aboard an inflatable craft and pit yourself against the forces of nature.
Head to the Colorado River in the United States for a white water adventure that’s out of this world. In fact, recent polls by adrenaline junkies have named Colorado as one of their favourite locations for all types of family adventure holidays, from mountain biking through the Rockies, to herding cattle cowboy-style. And thanks to the fast flowing currents of the Colorado River, adventures on the water are every bit as attractive as the fun you can have on land. There are trips here for every experience level, and once you’ve tired of the stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountains, there’s always a trip or two down Clear Creek, not far from Denver, to enjoy.
Head to the North Johnstone River in Queensland and you’ll be guaranteed a rapid adventure on these fast flowing waters. The river is actually a UNESCO site because of its strategic importance, and fans of the Crocodile Dundee films might well recognise the local landscape here as well. But once you’re on the river you won’t have time to stop and take in your surroundings, because the waters here are far from tame. River trips here can take several days to complete, and are often combined with some rainforest exploration as well. Taking up the option to camp makes the whole experience last much longer, which is a great idea if you’re planning your family holidays around a white water rafting experience.
The Victoria Nile in Uganda flows around 300 miles out of Victoria River until it meets up with, and helps to form, the River Nile. Uganda may not seem like a likely location for river rafting, but in fact the speed and ferocity of this river makes its rapids attractive to anyone that fancies a real challenge. Getting to a suitable rafting point on this river can be quite tricky – it’s not as simple as catching a bus or other public transport system. In fact, you’ll really need to hook up with a professional rafting service to join in with one of their runs, because if you don’t it’ll be a weeklong trip by jeep across some uncomfortable terrain instead.
North-eastern Ontario is home to the Magpie River, a relatively gentle and unassuming body of water that belies the fun a rafter can enjoy on its surface. In fact, while the Magpie is attractive to rafting novices who want a gentle introduction to the sport, it still attracts a number of experienced enthusiasts for one very good reason – the Magpie Falls. This stretch of waterfall runs off a staggered drop of 80 feet high, sending rafters plunging into the icy waters of the Michipicoten River below. The Magpie might not be the longest, the fastest or the whitest of experiences, but your heart will be racing over those falls nonetheless.
Byline: Fiona Galloway is a travel writer who enjoys family adventure holidays around the world.