Upper Rangitikei (III/IV)

This hard to get to and hard to time remote experience is one of the North Islands best-kept secrets. From tussock covered desert plateau to beech forest, to scrub and high country sheep station it has so much scenery packed in. It is also one of our premier trout fisheries and is protected by a…

Whakatane River (II)

This is a great two to four day wilderness trip through Te Urewera as described by Stu Bilby. It is suitable for paddlers with basic skills. A choice of huts or great camping each night, wild horses, beautiful forests, striking history and Tuhoe culture. Good hunting, fishing and swimming. This is a traditional canoe route…

Matiri (II+ III)

The Matiri is known as an epic kayak run when it’s in flood. More than any other river in the Murchison area, the Matiri’s character varies with flow. For packrafting, it’s a nice run at lower flows. From the end of the road you can walk several kilometres up the track towards the lake and determine…

Upper/ Mid Matakitaki (II)

The Matakitaki is one of the larger Buller tributaries. It is a popular kayak run due to it’s proximity to Murchison. There are three runs. The Lower Matakitaki, not covered here, is a portage for Packrafters (tales of broken limbs and kayak pins abound). The Mid Matakitaki is a short run that has a number…

Buller River Overview

The Buller river is one of New Zealand’s mightiest rivers. From it’s source in the Nelson Lakes to the wild West Coast at Westport it’s a spectacular beast. From the Lake it has a lovely short bouldery run across the terminal moraine that retains the Lake. It then becomes a slightly braided river for some…

Source of the Buller II+ / III

This is a delightful run that exits lake Rotoiti for a short placid reach and then takes off through a series of boulder garden rapids amidst beech forest and manuka. The “Source of the Buller” run begins at Lake Rotoiti’s outlet on West Bay Road and continues past the main road bridge on SH63 all…

Wairau (II & III – IV)

A real gem of a river that only Blenheim paddlers seem to know about.  The Wairau River is the largest river in Marlborough. It drains an area that is in a rain shadow, so it’s best in spring with snow melt. In higher flows the Wairau could be run as one continuous paddle from Hell’s…

Waingawa River from Mitre Flats (II+/III)

The Waingawa is one of the smallest of the runnable Eastern Tararua rivers.  It takes a crystal ball to get the timing right for this run.  It rises very fast and then falls just as quickly to residual flows that except in mid winter are barely paddle-able.  Catch the right weather combo and it’s another…

Mangahao (III+ / IV)

This has always been regarded as the premier Tararua river for kayaking but it is dammed.  On the rare release days it’s pretty popular and has some heavy Class IV features unsuitable for Packrafts.  It was once a popular tubing river in low flows but residual flows are insufficient for it to receive much paddler…

Manganui-a-te-ao (II & III-IV)

A shorter and more exciting alternative to the Wanganui multi day.  The Manganui-a-te-ao is tucked away between Raetahi and the Wanganui River.  It’s a better option than the Wanganui in a packraft as it has some decent rapids over the first two thirds of the trip.  Trout and Whio abound and the scenery ranges from…

Whangaehu (III)

The Whangaehu is a great Class III river with the unique feature of draining the Crater Lake on Mt Ruapehu.  It’s not one to take a swim in as the water is acidic!  But take some fresh drinking water and enjoy the continuous rapids. It’s a recurring theme in these parts that the river has…

Mangahao ParkRafting Centre (III)

The Mangahao Slalom Course is a short stretch of artificial Class III water that can be run over and over all day. It’s Parkrafting at its best; just park and play. The catch is they only run the powerhouse and spill water into the Mangaore Stream during times of high electricity demand or excess rainfall….

Tongariro Pillars of Hercules (III)

Trip Overview Access 13, or the Pillars of Hercules Run, is a very scenic run that can be scratched through at residual flows but is best done on one of the scheduled release days. The tracks in and out are tricky. Above this run is the deadly Tree Trunk Gorge and below it another deadly…

Tongariro Access 10 Run (III)

Trip Overview Access 10 is one of the premier roadside runs in the North Island. It has a reliable year-round flow of about 16m3 and a number of schedule release days where it is allowed to flow at what would be its normal flow of 30m3 or more. Link it up with the upstream Access…

Akatarawa River (II)

The Akatarawa River is a great little after work run 40 minutes drive out of Wellington. It has a single named rapid “The Wall” that can be challenging but is easily portaged. It’s a small catchment and accordingly takes some rain to get going. It can be a good default rain run if the Hutt…

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…

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…