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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Waimakarirri River Gorge (II) from Mt White to Sheffield

The Waimakariri Gorge is a great Grade 2 overnight trip or long day-trip covering 50 to 60 kms or river, accessible by car at both ends. Being so close to the outdoor recreation focussed population centre of Christchurch, this section of river will probably become one of the most commonly pack-rafted trips in New Zealand….

Hope River (II+) St Jacobs Hut to the highway

Another lovely river in the Lewis Pass region. An extended but beautiful and straightforward walk in through beech forest and river flats to the comfortable, quaint St Jacob’s hut. The paddle out down the Hope river is an enjoyable mixture of open river flats with a fun gravel races and some interesting class II+ boulder…

Pororari River (I) swingbridge to SH6

A short scenic float through a huge limestone gorge, this could be the last section of a trip on the Inland Packtrack, or a short out and back from Punakaiki. Thanks to Elias Love for the photos and info. View Larger Topographic Map Pororari River Track Its about 1hr up the track to the swingbridge…

Hokitika River (II+) Rapid Creek Hut to Hokitika Gorge

The headwaters of this valley are home to some of the hard west coast heli-kayaking runs, but the section from Rapid Creek down is much more manageable for intermediate packrafters. Easily done in a day, but there’s a great wee hut there so why not spend the night? There’s more than a few ways to…

Otaki River (III/IV) from Waitewaewae Hut to Otaki Forks

Historically, a classic Wellington region kayak run, it doesn’t get done very often due to the tricky flows needed and tough access. At the right flow, it’s a much more accessible packrafting trip, through a very scenic and wild gorge in the heart of the Tararuas. The trip is normally done over two days, by…

Wangapeka River (III/IV) from Kings Creek Hut to Rolling Junction

An out and back day mission to a challenging river in Kahurangi National Park. Thanks to Aaron Reimer for permission to use his trip report as a basis for this trip page. Aaron thinks there are options to extend the trip upstream (with harder rapids than this section) and downstream (more mellow rapids) of this…

Doubtful River (II) from Doubtless Hut

There are 3 rivers that run parallel on the western side of the Lewis River. The Doubtful River is not the most scenic, or the most exciting, but it does have whio and potential in higher water. Thanks to Colin Kinnison for the information and photos for this trip page. View Larger Topographic Map SH7…

D’Urville River (I/II-) from Morgan’s Hut

Thanks to Michael Batchelor for the information and photos to make up this trip page. View Larger Topographic Map D’Urville Hut to Morgan’s Hut The quickest option is to arrange a boat transfer in advance with Lake Rotoroa Water Taxi . They run on demand trips from Rotoroa Village to the head of the lake….

Poulter River (I/II) via Casey Saddle

An ‘almost-loop’ trip through Arthurs Pass mountains and braided river valleys. There are a few options for paddling the Poulter, including continuing on down the Waimakariri Gorge. Thanks to Michael Batchelor for the information and photos to make up this trip page. Haydn Deane posted a great video of the Poulter-Waimak Gorge option on vimeo…

Huxley River (II/III-)

An out and back overnight (or long day) trip to a beautiful valley. This trip benefits from a 4WD and bit of rain, in normal flows you’d probably be scraping or walking rather than floating. Beautiful backdrop to an interesting paddle. View Larger Topographic Map Lake Ohau Valley Road to Huxley Forks Huts Beyond the…

Pelorus River (II/III) from Roebuck Hut to Pelorus Bridge

This page is purely inspired by videos and trip reports that I’ve seen: I haven’t done the trip myself, so read into the reports what you will, and make your own assessment! As far as I can tell, it looks like a classic overnight through trip. A longish hike into a sweet hut, then a…

Borland Burn (II) from the North-Middle Borland Burn confluence

Needs a fair bit of rain to make this paddleable, but this is Fiordland so you shouldn’t need to wait long… Options of a stay in a Rock Bivvy, or the North Borland Hut could turn this into an overnighter. Thanks to Jesse Friedlander for the information. View Larger Topographic Map Borland Tracks to the…

South Temple Stream (III-) from South Temple Hut

Apart from a very short and easily portaged gorge halfway down, the South Temple below the hut provides fast and consistent paddling through boulder gardens. This sweet section of stream needs a bit of rain to bring it into condition for paddling, otherwise it is just too bony to float. There are a few options…