Aorere River (II) Salisbury Falls Gorge

The crystal clear Aorere cuts through the epic rock gorge at Salisbury falls, which is Takaka’s biggest and busiest swimming hole. The gorge itself runs for a few km each side of the tourist area and is an easy and spectacular trip, suitable for confident beginners. This is a short and sweet car-shuttle run, which has been popular with kayakers since forever..

Thanks to Martin Wilson for the photos and info.

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Car shuttle

Leave a car (or bike) at James Rd bridge and head up the Aorere Valley road until it crosses 15 mile creek. Get in here at the little bridge.

On the river

The river is wide and at low flows, there are occaisonally two channels to pick from.

Beware of the limestone overhangs, the water could drag you and trap you into a low ceiling cave! Wave at the tourist sat the swimming area and stop off for a dip in the warmer waters of the Salisbury Creek waterfall. Keep heading downstream, sometimes paddling long still sections of clear green water.

You can get out on the upstream or downstream side of the James Rd bridge. The run as marked is roughly 12km about 2-3 hrs.

The trip could be extended 8km by heading on downriver to the Devils Boots and getting out at Rockville.

Have a look at what the kayakers say on the entry for this section.


Aorere at Salisbury (which is a stage height in mm near the put-in)

  • 500mm is reported as near the lowest reasonable level to bother paddling: expect to scrape a bit on the shoals.
  • 650mm is an easy low-flow for confident beginners.
  • >650mm.. Tell us what you find…

There is another gauge lower down: Aorere at Devils boots (which is in cumecs, and a ways downstream)

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