Copland River (III/-IV) from Architect Creek Hut

A wild westcoast valley with some challenging paddling in solid flows and an optional trip to a famous hot spring.

Report update Dec20 – Alan Swann

View Larger Topographic Map

The Copland Track
The Copland track is very well marked and easy to follow, apart from the first crossing at Rough Creek, its almost a dry boot trip to Architect Creek.

Tramping up to Architect Creek. / D.Clearwater

Architect Creek Hut is great, but only has 2 bunks, so its worth bringing a tent (plent of good camping around). About 3 hours from the road end.

You could easily stretch this trip out by leaving your paddling gear near Architect Creek and visiting the Welcome Flat hotpools (another 3-4hrs up the valley). Welcome Flat Hut requires advance bookings.

See the DOC Website for more information and updates: Copland Track

Copland River (III/-IV)
Enter the river just upstream off the hut or 700m upstream at Architect Creek and paddle towards a huge boulder, centre river, the first rapid. At approx 600meters below Architect Creek hut the river turns 90deg left and then right, just after this turn there is a Class IV section which runs for a few hundred metres, it has approx four 1-2m boulder drops. This section can be easily portaged on river left.

Copland River / A. Swann

The river then eases with predominately class III rapids which have some big holes that need avoiding.

Copland River/ A.Swann collection
Copland River/ A.Swann collection

One rapid at the R for River on the topo map is slightly larger with 3 distinct drops (class -IV in elevated flows) but easily scouted or portaged on river right. Before too long, the river starts to slowly ease and becomes mostly class I with a few fun class II rapids until the confluence with the Karangarua.

Karangarua River (I/II)
Below the confluence, the volume doubles, with some larger wave trains and long flat sections. On a windy day it might be a little slow going at times.


2 Trip reports Log your trip

  1. Scott Morris says:

    Awesome river with good recovery pools most of the G3 stuff.

    Slight corrections: the closest put in is slightly *downstream* of the Architect Creek hut, not upstream. Upstream is all bluffs. Highly recommend walking upstream to Architect Creek for 700m of G2+ warmup. We enjoyed that section.

    We reckon the G4- rapid with 3 drops to it is more at the “a” in Copland, not the “R” in river.

    ~5 hours for us with lots of scouting. Thanks for the writeup, fantastic trip!

    • Kate Lord says:

      Super trip! Definitely recommend stashing your raft at Architect creek and continuing on to Welcome Flat Hut for the night. It took us 5 hours paddling to get from Architect creek back to the car.

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *