Waiau Toa – Clarence River (II)

Updated Dec 2019 From Hugh Canard’s Guide to the Clarence/Waiau-Toa This is one of the few long rivers of the narrow mountainous islands of New Zealand.   It offers fabulous scenery, edible wildlife, and no highways or bridges, and a near wilderness experience.  It has amazing geology and is a living laboratory of the influence of…

Ngaruroro Lower Gorge (III/IV)

The lower gorge, with it’s manuka native bush and surrounding steep and rugged hills, provides an impressive and scenic wilderness area. The 39km section includes a gorge containing more challenging white water than in the upper river, which provides just enough excitement for advanced paddlers. Hugh Canard described it as a sneaky one that creeps…

Maruia River below Maruia Falls (II/II+)

This is a fun roadside run that starts at Maruia Falls and ends 1 km before the confluence with the Buller River. Starting at the falls is exhilarating, but the rapids are generally straightforward. The run only takes a few hours, at just over 10km. View Larger Topographic Map Logistics Take out: Make sure to…

Rakaia Gorge (II)

An easily accessible and short Canterbury float with reliable flows and a big water feel. Beautiful water and views and a great enjoyment-to-energy expenditure ratio. Best during weekdays to avoid large amounts of jet boat traffic. (please take a look at our general advice about Jetboats and packrafts) View Larger Topographic Map Logistics Park just…

Rangitikei River Utiku to Mangaweka (II)

This is a scenic Class 2 run in a river that always has enough flow for a paddle. It is a great learners trip with eddies and play waves and an excellent camp ground at the take out. It feels more remote than it is due to the nature of the gorge so take drinking…

Rangitikei River – River Valley Lodge to Mangaweka (II)

This is a scenic overnight trip that starts with lots of Class 2 rapids and spectacular gorge scenery extending more than 90km down river. It requires advance permission from River Valley Lodge for access across private land to the put-in. This is typically done as two full days to Mangaweka Campground.  It could be done…

Jetboats and Packrafts

As Packrafting gets more popular, there is more potential for conflict between Packrafters and other river users. With a bit of common courtesy, Packrafters can demonstrate considerate behaviour which will help ensure safety and a good reputation in the outdoor community. Jetboat capabilities Jetboats are very capable watercraft, and can get up some big rapids…

Eglinton River (I/II) Mackay Creek to Lake Te Anau

This section takes in some delightful open river flats, and a spectacular limestone gorge. A great spot to convince your friends how great packrafting is and also possible as an evening trip from Te Anau. On a warm sunny day, one could spend some time exploring the gorge, as it’s possibly to climb out onto…

Waipakahi River from the Urchin Track (II)

The Waipakihi River drains the Kaimanawa Ranges on the eastern side of the desert road. Where it leaves the mountains it becomes the Tongariro River.  It is a picturesque river valley through beech forest. It has insufficient flow through the warmer months and can only be run after rainfall. View Larger Topographic Map Shuttle There…

Tauherenikau River, Cone Hut to Bucks Rd (II/III high flow)

The Tauherenikau river flows from Mount Hector in the Taruara ranges to Lake Wairarapa. It drains the area of the Tararua ranges between the Waiohine River and the Hutt River.  As the Tauherenikau exits the range, it flows through a stunning gorge. It is the smallest of the three rivers draining the Southern Tararua ranges. As…

Upper Whanganui (II+/III)

This trip explores 36km of the seldom-paddled upper reaches of the mighty Whanganui River, which stretches from its beginnings on the flanks of Mt Tongariro, to the mouth near Whanganui, 290km away. Most people have floated down the spectacular sections below Taumarunui, but we were interested in exploring the upstream section where it flows through…

Lower Taieri River, Lee Stream to Outram (I/II)

This is a scenic trip only 20 minutes from Dunedin, taking in the final part of the Lower Taieri run in the Whitewater New Zealand Guide. The run described here misses the grade III section above Lee Stream, and is a good trip for Dunedinites wanting to practice on some grade II rapids. Could be…

Te Awa Kairangi (Hutt River) – Twin Lakes to Moonshine Bridge (I/II)

Once the Te Awa Kairangi (Hutt) River emerges from the Tararua Ranges, it is a mostly braided, gentle paddle that is suitable for beginners. There are two commonly run sections which run alongside the roads of Upper Hutt.  Thanks to Martin Robertson for the information and pictures.  View Larger Topographic Map Te Awa Kairangi …

Clarke River (I/II) from Rough Creek

A relatively straight-forward out and back weekend trip to a beautiful braided river beneath Mt Hooker. Best after rain, or during the spring melt. View Larger Topographic Map Logistics and (potential) shuttle There are a couple of ways to start and end the trip. No shuttle: Park your vehicles on the southern side of Clarke…

Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River gorge (low flow III, high flow IV)

The gorge of Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River is a spectacular trip through native forest with a real wilderness feel.  It is well known by local paddlers, as it is the closest class III water to Wellington (one hour) and has road access with a short shuttle.  Te Awakairangi / Hutt River supplies Wellington with much…

Lower Hurunui (I) from Mandamus river to SH7 bridge

A cruisey day trip down a braided Canterbury river. Thanks to Matt Burke for the words, Sam Newton and Zak Hind as the talent in the photos…  View Larger Topographic Map Car shuttle Its about a 20-30 minute trip each way on mostly gravel roads. The run This 30km stretch of the Hurunui is all…

Hooker Lake from Mt Cook Village

A half day explore on a glacially fed lake with an incredible view of NZ’s tallest peak. View Larger Topographic Map Hooker Valley Track The Hooker Valley Track is one of the most popular short walks in the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, and its not hard to see why. On a very easy, gravelled and…

Lower Waiohine Gorge (II+) From Totara Flats Hut to Gorge Road

As it descends through the Tararua Ranges, the Waiohine River has a number of sections of interest to Packrafters. The Upper Gorge (above Mid Waiohine Hut),  Middle Gorge (Mid Waiohine Hut to Totara Flats Hut)  and the Lower Gorge (Totara Flats Hut to Gorge Road). The lower Gorge of the Waiohine is a typical scenic…

Blue Grey River (II/III) via Robinson Valley

A fun loop trip in Lewis Pass, with a walk up beech forest valley and over a pass, a quick paddle across Lake Christabel and through grade 2 to 3 rapids (with some portaging). Thank you to Carey Lintott, Nicole Symon and Martin Peat for the information and photos. This keen group did the trip…

Lower Whirinaki (II/III) Okui Gorge

The Whirinaki River is a one of the main rivers draining Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Forest Park around 1 hour east of Rotorua. It is fed by a watershed the extends south and east from the Galatea plains past Minginui and into the forest park. With amazing bush, easy access at a number of points and…