Packrafting Training
Course Level 1

Get all the basic skills to start your packrafting journey safely.

Packrafting beginner course

Our Packrafting beginner course (IPIA Level 1) is a 2-day course and the perfect introduction to packrafting. Whether your a first-time packrafter, or you’ve done packrafting before but need a refresher – this course is ideal.

You’ll gain the confidence and experience to handle your raft in and out of the water, in a flat-water setting and in some rapids. You’ll be able to head out on your own adventure, prepared and confident.

What you need to know

  • Training course cost: $600
  • Optional accommodation with us
    • Book a spot in our Packrafting NZ Eco Village – glamping-styled tenting, shared facilities, and epic views. Available the night(s) before and after the expedition. Please choose the option to stay with us when booking. 
  • Course length is 2 days, down here in Te Anau at Waiau River.
  • Limited to 4 participants to maximise learning and personal development
  • Include is an online component ( ~10h to be finished before the practical part ) and a practical component ( 2 days ).
  • Included are a paddling-specific fitness and basic paddle stroke plan
  • The course introduces the basic skills you’ll need to start your Packrafting journey and focuses on skills and knowledge you actually use, rather than the ones you won’t.
  • Courses run from October-March on request (minimum numbers apply.)
  • The minimum age is 15 to partake in this course.
  • The course is based on confidence and skill progression. We can and will, tailor the experience to your own personal abilities.

Sample Itinerary

We start at 8:30 am at Packrafting New Zealand HQ to meet the team and sort out the kit for the day. The rest of the day we will spend on our local pond to learn all the basics.

You will learn, basic paddle strokes, self and buddy rescue, swift water swimming position (passive and aggressive), swimming with a paddle, and of course inflating and deflating your boat. If you signed up for the course only, your day will end around the 3pm mark.

We build on your training from day-1 and practice all the learned skills in and on a real river. Our main location will be on the Waiau River near the Monowai power station. In general, we will leave town at 8am (after a coffee of course.) We aim to be back in town by around 5pm.

What will I need to bring?

  • Stay with us or sort your accommodation for the weekend in Te Anau
  • Food in the form of snacks for 2-active days in and on the water.
  • Warm layers/pants and tops/some thick socks (polypro recommended for under the wetsuit/dry suit.)
  • Reasonable fitness will make things easier (upper body strength will help and a reasonable technique in freestyle swimming.)
  • Great sense of adventure (and humour!)

If you have your own packrafting gear we strongly recommend that you use it for the course, as it is important to get practice with your own kit. If you don’t have your own kit, don’t worry, we have a full kit you can hire for the course for free.

Please note

This is not a rescue course. Rather, this course is aimed towards giving you the skills and confidence to avoid situations requiring rescue in the first place. Most beginner paddlers simply do not have the experience or skills to actually be active participants in a rescue scenario involving moving water. We recommend you gain experience after the course by paddling lots of up to grade 2 water, both on the day and multi-day trips. Once you have a few good trips under your belt, then join us at one of our skill development clinics or join us on our intermediate/advanced expedition on the longest waterfall in New Zealand ( The Wairaurahiri ) to up your skills. Challenge yourself with 20km of class 2 action.


  • New for the Season 2023/2024, Stay with us and book your accommodation in our Packrafting NZ Eco Village – basic, glamping-styled tenting, shared facilities, and epic views. Available for the night(s) of your course dates. You can choose the option to stay with us when booking. 
  • Our Eco Tent site has very basic cooking facilities with USB charging stations for your mobile phone. Usually, you share a 4-meter bell tent with someone else

  • There is also a composting toilet and a basic shower available.

  • Everything here works on solar power and is as environmentally friendly as we can.

Ready to book?

Keen to get stuck into this packrafting training course? Read all the info above and keen to book yourself (and your mates) in? Book below.