Dam dropping, or white-water sledging (like sledding, but on water), has become one of New Zealand's many zany adventure sports, and Taranaki is where it all started. You'll have your nose to the water as you maneuver your sledge headfirst over a short steep dam on the Waingongoro River. Kaitiaki Adventures runs trips on demand, leaving from the Normanby Hotel, five minutes north of Hawera on State Highway 3. Bring a swimsuit and towel; a padded wet suit, booties, life jacket, helmet, fins, and a sledge (which resembles a small surfboard) are provided. Guides add a cultural element by talking about the kaitiake, the traditional guardians of the land and its rivers.
The three-hour trips (NZ$100) run mainly during summer school holidays (January) and on weekends but can sometimes be booked other days.
Advance reservations are required. 06 752 8242 or 0274 706 899