River Crossing Course September 23, 2024

This is a one-day river crossing course.


Completing a one-day river crossing course with OENZ is a great way to upskill and ensure your safety before you head on your next big adventure. Rivers are one of the greatest hazards in New Zealand’s backcountry and claim lives every year! They are dynamic and pose a serious risk to the untrained.

“There are, on average, about four river crossing deaths each year. Of these accidents, most occur in flooded rivers or side streams.” (Bushcraft Manual Fourth edition. Mountain Safety Council, 2006)



Youth Price $179** (14-15 years, accompanied by an adult)

Ask about our Family Friendly courses for ages less than 14 years.

* This is the early bird booking price, standard rates are available on the course calendar.

**Conditions apply for youth pricing structure. See FAQ’s page.



The course is delivered at Canterburys Waimakariri River, meeting at the Mount White Bridge (approx 1.5hr drive from Christchurch). If the Waimakariri River is in a high flow, then we use the Hawden River as a smaller contributary.

For people interested in a river crossing course closer to Christchurch, please contact us for a private booking. 




This is a one-day course and does not include overnight accommodation. Please see our FAQ’s page for recommended accommodation options for those travelling outside of Christchurch.




All you will need for this course is waterproof boots, a tramping pack and normal outdoor clothing. We will supply all the necessary equipment for you if you don’t have your own.  You can find a packing list and course outline at the bottom of this page.




Food is not provided on this course. We recommend packing plenty of snacks and lunches that do not require cooking.




Transport is not provided to the course location unless arranged in advance.

However, we can transfer you to the course accommodation the night before if the shuttle is running our pick-up and drop-off service. If you would like to enquire about transport, please call us for rates and transfer information.



We recommend that you arrive in Christchurch the day before your course runs. If you would like us to transfer you to the course location you will need to book through the office.  At the end of the course, we are more than happy to drop you back at your accommodation or directly to the airport.  The earliest time we can have you back at the airport is 6 pm.




River safety course
Throw bagging rescues


Risk Assessment

  • Assessment and identification of hazards
  • Hazard management
  • River characteristics & features
  • Decision making


River Crossing

  • River crossing principles
  • Identifying safe entry and exit points
  • River crossing methods
  • Backing out
  • Using poles for support



  • Recovery swim
  • Pack float
  • Throw bag techniques
  • How to manage an injured, wet person until external help arrives



Course Outline
Gear List











The ability to swim confidently is not a pre-requisite of this course. However, if participants are not confident swimmers, they should advise their instructors of this on registration.

*A minimum of 4 participants is required for the course to run.



“I feel we had good time to go through everything and feel much more confident in crossing rivers” –  Clare Ross

” An excellent river course, exactly what I was looking”  – John Andrews

“My Wife and I have done two courses and it has been really helpful. We’ve done the two day navigation course and the River Crossing Course. Both courses have been customised To our needs so we couldn’t have asked for better service. We will be well prepared for our adventures to come. Highly recommend them. And thank you in advance for saving our lives crossing dangerous rivers” 

Field Based Course Highlights


The ability to swim confidently is not a pre-requisite of the course, however, if participants are not confident swimmers they should advise this on booking.

*Minimum 4 people needed to run a course

Course booking form

Participant Details

Participant details

Please enter details for each participant you're booking for (even if they're the same as entered above).

Bookings are $299 per participant

Add a Youth Participant?

Youth Participant details

Youth must be at least 14 (accompanied by an adult) years old to attend this course

Bookings are $179 per youth participant



Which course are you taking?
Alpine Course
Hunting Course
Bush and River Crossing
Rock Climbing
Sea Kayak
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Other Details

Course cost

Course Cost: $ NZD

You can choose to complete your booking using Credit/Debit Card (via Paypal - PayPal account is not required), or by using your Paypal account. If you would like to make payment by Internet Banking or request an invoice please contact us in advance.

Contact us at
+64 3 329 9076

Other Course Dates

  • 21 Oct 24
  • 25 Nov 24
  • 27 Jan 25
  • 17 Mar 25
  • 22 Sep 25
  • 20 Oct 25
  • 01 Dec 25

Course Timing

9:00am to 4:00pm