A great introduction to packrafting can be had by camping at Glenfalls on the Napier Taupo Road (SH5) and running the easy Class I /II section. On the subsequent days the Glenfalls to Everetts run steps up the difficulty to Class II. It’s got a consistent flow right through the year and will have water when everywhere else is bony.
Drive 4km up McVicar Road to the Bridge. Walk down the 4wd track to the river put-in on river right.
To get to the take-out drive down Waitara road, off SH5, about 8km to Glenfalls. From Glenfalls continue 5km to Auroa Road on the left and descend through the pines to Bridget’s Clearing. The run used to end at Everetts but a slip has closed the access road. You can still walk and camp there. Now the run ends at Bridget’s Clearing where there is also camping and toilets.
On the Water
The river is easy Class I with occasional Class II rapids through a deeply incised channel. Willows are prevalent and can present hazards for learners. It’s a really cruisy run.
It is 12km down to Glenfalls where there is a nice DOC Campsite. Watch out for the wasps!
From the campsite to Bridget’s Clearing campsite is about 11km (allow 3.5hrs ). There is a great play-spot at the downstream end of the campground and also about a km downstream. After the Waipunga Confluence watch out for willows river left and in the channel river right a little further on. After this there is a big oxbow shaped bend. Halfway around the bend the geology changes to highly sheared greywacke that has formed a unique landform known as the Organ Pipes. This is followed by a large active slip delivering pine trees into the river.
A kilometre on is a great wave train to practice throw roping and whitewater swimming. The biggest rapid (II to II+) is around the next corner before the Bridget’s Clearing campsite. Allow 3.5 hours from Glenfalls or an hour more if playing on the eddy roundabouts.
The gauge is here – any flow above 10 cumec is fine.