Fox River (II)

The Limestone escarpments of the Paparoa National Park are unique in NZ. This trip takes in one of the famous gorges, with flexibility to be done as a day trip, overnighter or through trip.

This trip page was collated with info and images from Martin Wilson. Thanks also to Ash Rogers for extra images.

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There are several great ways to enjoy this river. You can go up and back from Tiromoana, either as a day trip, or enjoying an evening at the Ballroom Overhang. Another option would be to come over from the Inland Pack Track.

The river needs a bit of extra flow to be floatable in the lower (wide and gravelly) sections, and when its flowing enough, you might need to use the rafts on some of the compulsory river crossings on the Fox River Track and to get to the Ballroom overhang (a large rock bivvy which is quite popular to stay at)

Roughly 2 hours hike/paddle from the road to the Ballroom Overhang.

The River

The Fox passes through a spectacular gorge with limestone walls over 200m high on both sides. It is similar to the adjacent Pororari and Nile but grander.

The big boulder choke in the middle (just visible from the track as you hike in) created a short grade III section, we portaged this as there was small log submerged in the first narrow falls.

The rest is grade II, running smooth with lots of big pools. It would be possible to do in lower flows but gets wider near the road and you may have to re-gain the track to get home.

Roughly 2 hours @ 30 cumecs (estimated)



After a week of rain most rivers on the coast get a bit full on, however the Fox is low gradient and continues to run clear. For this trip, we estimated it at 30 cumecs, the nearest gauge is at Mawheraiti River at Atarau Road bridge and was registering 50 cumecs that day.

One trip report Log your trip

  1. Brent Stanley says:

    Comment copy/pasted from Facebook:

    Brent Stanley
    27 September 2023

    Fox river paddle today. A little under 2 hours hike and 2 hours on the river. Tim had paddled the Fox twice before with a little more volume. Mostly an easy run other than a tricky spot with boulders and logs with seives and under cut and low drop with reticular water. After scouting we decided to portage. Looked like a bad place to swim and quite possible with the hazards and flow. Need to watch carefully for trees as quite a few and tricky to spot. We recovered a jacket caught in strainers. I was hoping like hell it was only a jacket. A great paddle but as always make good choices.

    • Date of your trip -27 September
    • Estimated/gauge flow -
    • When did it last rain and how much? -
    • How long did it take to paddle the section described here? -
    • Any new hazards? -See above

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