An out-and-back trip, through farmland, beech forest and huge Otago peaks. Lots of options to shorten or lengthen the trip. A one day option goes as far as Aspiring Hut, avoiding the harder rapids. For two days, camp at Shovel Flat, for the top section of class III paddling. More days could be spent with side trips to Liverpool or French Ridge Huts.
Be aware that Wanaka River Journeys (as well as recreational jet boaters) regularly operate on the Matukituki River. These jet boats have legal authorisation to boat up the West Branch to the National Park Boundary at Aspiring Hut. This means you could theoretically encounter them at any stage during this paddle. Practically, it would be very difficult to get up through the rapid below the Rob Roy Stream confluence, and they appear not to be offering regular trips up the West Branch at this time. However they definitely do operated regularly below the East/West Branch confluence, and up the East Branch, so its worth reading the Jetboat courtesy code for safety tips before you head out, and give them a call!
The West Matukituki Valley Track
From Raspberry Creek Carpark to Aspiring Hut, the route is a 4WD track, which can be cycled if you’re keen
Aspiring Hut see’s a lot of use but is a comfortable place to spend the night.
Those looking for a longer trip with more difficult paddling will continue up to Shovel Flat
West Matukituki River (I-III)
From Shovel Flat, the river descends through a tighter section with class III drops until just above Aspiring Hut.
From Aspiring Hut to the Robroy Swingbridge, its lots of long flat stretches, some small wave trains. There’s a couple of small class II rapids in there as well.
Some folks will want to take out by the confluence with the Rob Roy Stream. Under the swing bridge is a class III bouldergarden, pushing up to IV when the river is up.
The river eases to class I/II for the final stretch back to Raspberry Creek.
Median Flow is about 40 cumecs, which ends up being a little boney in the class I/II section.
More information/Blogs/Trip reports
Mark Oates produced a video of his trip from Shovel Flat to Raspberry Creek The paddling footage is from the upper and lower sections (III)