The Maruia is a very pleasant and scenic float that is mostly Class II. There is a Class III rapid in the middle of the run and there are a few Class II+ depending on flow. It’s an easy run as anything above Class II is easily portaged.
You don’t need 2 days to complete the 25km float but its best enjoyed as an overnighter with a camp at the mid point on one of the many picturesque beech clad river terraces. Cars would be safer overnight at the Boundary Road put-in than take-out.
The put-in is a couple of km down Boundary road off the State Highway. The takeout is a small carpark on the Highway near the confluence with Shenandoah stream.
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The river starts as easy ClassI/II through farmland and through to the crux (Staghead) rapid. There is lots of gentle floating. There are trout in the river and deer in the bush.
The river banks are alluvial gravel over bedrock. The harder rapids occur where slips and rockfalls have introduced larger blocks of rock into the river bedload. The Class III is at Stags Head Stream. The Stags Head rapid is a long boulder garden. It should be scouted and is easily portaged either side.
Below this its generally Class II or II+.
About 1.3km from the takeout the river enters a short granite gorge heralded by a Class II+ rapid. When the valley opens out the takeout is on river right at a left hand bend.
It is lovely beech forest on the true left, then on both sides below Creightons. The forest was saved from logging by a massive petition in the 1970s and the establishment of the Maruia Society which ultimately put an end to un-sustainable logging of State Forest.