River Crossing Course

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, 80{58853ec79041cc783b7c3a678c314174b398210327e4128d1d58972e205e987b} occur in flooded rivers or side streams.” (Bush craft Manual Fourth edition. Mountain Safety Council, 2006)




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 a smaller contributory.

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, 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 lunch that does not require cooking.




Outdoor education New Zealand mountain courses
OENZ 4×4


If you’re staying in a hotel

Free transport is available from any Christchurch accommodation if your travelling from out of town to attend one of our courses.




Meeting locations (catch a ride with us)

If you have your own car and want a lift we can meet you at one of the following locations.

Yaldhurst Mcdonalds 7:00 am (see on google maps)

*Darfield Bakery 7:30 am (see on google maps)

*Castle Hill Village 8:30 am (see on google maps)

*Our preferred meeting location is Darfield Bakery.

OENZ Van for mountaineering courses
OENZ 12 seat Van




We recommend that you arrive in Christchurch the day before your course. We have a few hotel & hostel suggestions on our FAQ’s page. Please avoid booking accommodation north or east of the city centre.  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 Crossing courses run from October to April.  Visit our Course Calendar for scheduled course dates. Custom courses can be created on alternative dates by request.




PRICE: $229*




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



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



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.



See what our clients haveto say

“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 for.”  – 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. Thank you in advance for saving our lives crossing dangerous rivers!” – Mel & Jason


Contact us today


Phone: +64 3 329 9076                                Email: [email protected]