River Crossing Course

This is a one-day river crossing course.

River Crossing course overview

Completing a one-day river crossing course with OENZ is a great way to upskill and ensure your safety before heading 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, many occur in flooded rivers or side streams.” (Bushcraft Manual Fourth edition. Mountain Safety Council, 2006)


Please note: Our one-day river crossing course is delivered as part of our 3, 6 & 7-day bushcraft block courses. You can meet the group on the morning of the course in Arthurs Pass or Meet them the evening before at our lodge in Arthurs Pass. Please contact our office for more details.


Adult Price $299* (minimum age 16 years)

Youth Price $179** (14-16 years, accompanied by an adult)

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



The course is delivered near Arthurs Pass on the Waimakariri River. You can meet the evening before the course in Arthurs Pass and stay in our lodge, or meet at Mount White Bridge (approx 1.5hr drive from Christchurch) on the day. If the Waimakariri River is in a high flow, we will use the Hawden River or Bealy River as they have smaller contributors.

If you are travelling from out of town to attend we may be able to offer you transport from Christchurch the day before the course and accommodation in Arthurs Pass. Please contact our office before booking if you require transport to and from the course.

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



Lodge in Arthurs Pass Village

Accommodation in Arthurs Pass Village the evening before the course is available on request but is not included in the course cost. As this is a one-day course, accommodation is optional and may not be necessary for people from Canterbury or the West Coast.

Please see our FAQ’s page for recommended accommodation options in Christchurch City.






Wet boot on river crossing course
Wet boots

All you will need for this course is boots, a tramping pack and normal outdoor clothing. We will supply all the necessary equipment for you if you don’t have your own.  We will also provide packs the can be used and get wet, so you don’t have to get your own gear saturated. 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.




free tranipost in OENZ car for river crossing course


If you’re staying in a hotel

We may have a vehicle travelling up to Arthurs Pass on the morning of the river crossing course. If we do, you’re more than welcome to catch a ride with us. Please contact the office before booking to find out if transport to and from this course is available.


Meeting locations

If you have your own car, we can meet you at one of the following locations.

  • Arthurs Pass Cafe and Store 9:30 am

         (see on google maps)

  • Mt White Bridge 10:00 am

        (see on google maps)






We recommend that you arrive in Christchurch the day before your course. We have a few hotel & hostel suggestions on our FAQ’s page. If you like, you can stay at our lodge available in Arthurs Pass village the night before your course. Arthurs Pass is two hours drive from Christchurch.








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: $299*




* 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.



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


river crossing course with OENZ in Nae Zealand
River Crossing (Credit J. KIrk-Anderson)


  • 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 on registration.

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


See what our clients have to 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]