Visit the Packrafting in New Zealand facebook group to connect to the local Packrafting Community.
The website of White Water NZ. It has an online version of Graham Charles’ NZ Whitewater guide. The whitewater guide is obviously focused on hardshell kayaking, and caters more for the class III to V kayaker. But there is information useful for packrafters, and some details about easier runs and roadside training locations.
Flow gauges in NZ are run by the regional councils. Most have pages which show the locations of gauges on a map. Although there are plenty of gauges in NZ, there are lots of locations where there is no gauge, so choosing a site nearby to your intended destination can give you an indication of what flows might be doing in that area.
Most areas also have rain gauges, which can be helpful for predicting flows.
Department of Conservation mapping tool
The DOC GIS site is an excellent resource for finding the location of public conservation lands, huts and tracks. Many of the objects on the map have links to the main DOC website, which has heaps of great info on access, track descriptions, hut fees etc…. Its a great start to planning a packrafting trip.
Walking Access Mapping System
The Walking Access Commission is a NZ goverment entity, which works with landowners and the government to identify, protect and promote walking access through NZ. The online WAMS tool shows most of the same info as the DOC GIS site, but additionally it shows things like marginal strips, unformed roads and public waterway information. These bits of info are very helpful when planning trips which start or finish in areas that are predominantly private land (most of our land that isn’t covered in forest). You can identify a legal way to travel, which doesn’t require permission of the landowner. Otherwise, you need to find and (politely) ask for access from the landowner.
This site has all the NZ Topomaps (the same as DOC GIS and WAMS) but without any of the overlaid information. This makes it much faster to view the maps, but there’s less deeper info to help plan. Very popular site in NZ. Its also the site used to power the route maps on this blog.
Commercial Packrafting and equipment
Packrafting New Zealand / Expedition X
Expedition-X is NZ’s first (and currently the only) Packrafting guide company. They offer a number of guided packrafting trips, as well as offering Packraft specific river safety and rescue courses.
They also have an online shop as the NZ distributor for Alpacka Rafts, Hyperlite Mountain Gear and Western Mountaineering.
Koaro Packrafts are a NZ company who began to produce and sell packrafts in 2016.