Rakaia Gorge (II)

An easily accessible and short Canterbury float with reliable flows and a big water feel. Beautiful water and views and a great enjoyment-to-energy expenditure ratio. Best during weekdays to avoid large amounts of jet boat traffic. (please take a look at our general advice about Jetboats and packrafts)

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Park just under the Rakaia Gorge bridge on the true left of the river. Parking is available both in the lot and down by the river.

From there, cross the road and walk up the Rakaia Gorge Walkway, a well-maintained and marked track that will take you above the bluffs. Walk for approximately 5 km until reaching a sign that indicates the turn for the boat ramp. Take a left and drop down to the river. It took us about 1:15 to reach the put-in.

Rakaia Gorge Float (II)

You’ll have about 5km of river between the put-in and the car park. There is only one area of white water approximately halfway down the river. You can see that whitewater during the walk in. The rest is a wide river with several strong eddy lines that can flip the unsuspecting boater. You’ll travel by large bluffs and the occasional waterfall. Enjoy the scenery, but keep an ear out for jetboats.


Rakaia River at Fighting Hill. The gauge is near the take-out bridge.

Longer Run (car shuttle)

For a longer float, drive upstream to Kowai Flats. This extends the floating to 20km, with the last 5km being in the spectacular gorge described here. The preceding 15km are a mellow class I float as the Rakaia is braided upstream of the gorge.

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