Wairau (II / III) (- IV in high flow)

A real gem of a river that only Blenheim paddlers seem to know about.  The Wairau River is the largest river in Marlborough. It drains an area that is in a rain shadow, so it’s best in spring with snow melt. In higher flows the Wairau could be run as one continuous paddle from Hell’s…

Mangahao (III+ / IV)

This has always been regarded as the premier Tararua river for kayaking but it is dammed.  On scheduled release days it was pretty popular and has some heavy Class IV features unsuitable for Packrafts.  It was once a popular tubing river in low flows but residual flows are insufficient for it to receive much paddler…

Manganui-a-te-ao (II+) from Ruatiti

A shorter and more exciting alternative to the Wanganui multi day.  The Manganui-a-te-ao is tucked away between Raetahi and the Wanganui River.  It’s a better option than the Wanganui in a packraft as it has some decent rapids over the first two thirds of the trip.  Trout and Whio abound and the scenery ranges from…

Whangaehu (III)

The Whangaehu is a great Class III river with the unique feature of draining the Crater Lake on Mt Ruapehu.  It’s not one to take a swim in as the water is acidic!  But take some fresh drinking water and enjoy the continuous rapids. It’s a recurring theme in these parts that the river has…

Tongariro Access 10 Run (III)

Trip Overview Access 10 is one of the premier roadside runs in the North Island. It has a reliable year-round flow of about 16m3 and a number of schedule release days where it is allowed to flow at what would be its normal flow of 30m3 or more. Link it up with the upstream Access…

Waiau Toa – Clarence River II/II+ (III)

From Hugh Canard’s Guide to the Clarence/Waiau-Toa – Updated Jan 2022 This is one of the few long rivers of the narrow mountainous islands of New Zealand.   It offers fabulous scenery, edible wildlife, and no highways or bridges, and a near wilderness experience.  It has amazing geology and is a living laboratory of the influence…

Ngaruroro Lower Gorge (III/IV)

The lower gorge, with it’s manuka native bush and surrounding steep and rugged hills, provides an impressive and scenic wilderness area. The 39km section includes a gorge containing more challenging white water than in the upper river, which provides just enough excitement for advanced paddlers. Hugh Canard described it as a sneaky one that creeps…

Tauherenikau River, Cone Hut to Bucks Rd (II/III high flow)

The Tauherenikau river flows from Mount Hector in the Taruara ranges to Lake Wairarapa. It drains the area of the Tararua ranges between the Waiohine River and the Hutt River.  As the Tauherenikau exits the range, it flows through a stunning gorge. It is the smallest of the three rivers draining the Southern Tararua ranges. As…

Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River gorge (low flow III, high flow IV)

The gorge of Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River is a spectacular trip through native forest with a real wilderness feel.  It is well known by local paddlers, as it is the closest class III water to Wellington (one hour) and has road access with a short shuttle.  Te Awakairangi / Hutt River supplies Wellington with much…

Blue Grey River (II/III) via Robinson Valley

A fun loop trip in Lewis Pass, with a walk up beech forest valley and over a pass, a quick paddle across Lake Christabel and through grade 2 to 3 rapids (with some portaging). Thank you to Carey Lintott, Nicole Symon and Martin Peat for the information and photos. This keen group did the trip…

Lower Whirinaki (II/III) Okui Gorge

The Whirinaki River is a one of the main rivers draining Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Forest Park around 1 hour east of Rotorua. It is fed by a watershed the extends south and east from the Galatea plains past Minginui and into the forest park. With amazing bush, easy access at a number of points and…

Rees River (II/III) from Muddy Creek to McDougals Creek

A great little roadside run in a beautiful beech lined valley. There’s a few pool drop Class III rapids at the beginning, followed by a fun and bouncy trip on pretty continuous class II. The initial rapids can be easily portaged. Thanks to Huw Miles for the information. Photo credits to Huw Miles www.packraftingqueenstown.com: Julian…

Grey River (II/III) via the Nina Valley

A long distance through trip that crosses the main divide from east to west. Most people would probably want to allow 4 or 5 days for the trip which is evenly split with 50km of trekking and 50km of paddling. Some off-track navigation is required and the class III Gentle Annie gorge has no easy…

Taipo River (II/III, with optional IV/V top section) via Harman Pass

The Taipo below Julia Hut is already well known as a heli-kayaking run, with some detailed paddling information in the Whitewater NZ river guide book. Taipo means ”devil” or evil spirit in Maori. It is interesting because Maori used it thinking it was English and the early English settlers used it thinking it was Maori….

Otaki River (III/IV) from Waitewaewae Hut to Otaki Forks

Historically, a classic Wellington region kayak run, it doesn’t get done very often due to the tricky flows needed and tough access. At the right flow, it’s a much more accessible packrafting trip, through a very scenic and wild gorge in the heart of the Tararuas. The trip is normally done over two days, by…

Waiohine River (III/IV) From Mid Waiohine

Updated 2020 by Martin Robertson The Waiohine has a fearsome reputation as a Gorge trip with many tube trips being completed over the years but possibly just as many being aborted.  It is the classic Tararua Gorging trip, and with the right flows a  brilliant pack raft.  Its definitely not one to underestimate.   The river…

Mikonui River (II/III) from Totara Valley Rd to SH6

West Coast rivers can be pretty intimidating. If you want a gentler option but still with a wilderness feel, fantastic views of the Southern Alps, rain forested gorges and waterfalls then the Mikonui just south of Ross is a great option. And Ross is a cool little town to hang out in. There are few…

Wangapeka River (III/IV) from Kings Creek Hut to Rolling Junction

An out and back day mission to a challenging river in Kahurangi National Park. Thanks to Aaron Reimer for permission to use his trip report as a basis for this trip page. Aaron thinks there are options to extend the trip upstream (with harder rapids than this section) and downstream (more mellow rapids) of this…