Once the Te Awa Kairangi (Hutt) River emerges from the Tararua Ranges, it is a mostly braided, gentle paddle that is suitable for beginners. There are two commonly run sections which run alongside the roads of Upper Hutt. Thanks to Martin Robertson for the information and pictures.
Te Awa Kairangi (I/II) – Twin Lakes to Akatarawa River confluence (Twin Bridges)
The start of this run is also the takeout for the Hutt Gorge trip.
To reach the put in, follow Twin Lakes Road, off SH2. This is the Te Marua Speedway entrance to the Twin Lakes area of Kaitoke Regional Park. Continue to the service building and compound and then down to the left to the riverside car park.
This section requires a decent flow as it’s braided in parts. There are a few willows in places but nothing too challenging for a beginner. Accordingly, it’s a common learner’s run. It can be linked in with the Twin Bridges to Moonshine run.
If the flow at Te Marua is below 10 cumecs this run will be a bit scratchy.
Te Awa Kairangi – Twin Bridge to Moonshine (I/II)
This is a great learner run or a summer after work paddle for Wellingtonians.
Put in at the Twin Bridges on Akatarawa Road and take out at the Poets Corner Park upstream of Moonshine Bridge on SH2. A 7.5 km road shuttle. It can be extended by starting at Twin Lakes Te Marua if the river is high enough.
This run starts at the confluence of the Hutt and Akatarawa rivers and thus benefits from a higher flow than the upstream sections.
The river is incised below a river terrace which has housing but from the river it feels quite undeveloped. It widens at Harcourt Park and becomes quite boney. Bedrock outcrops in the riverbed at Maoribank where the river swings to the right against a bluff. This corner is a popular swimming spot in summer. The rocky chute rapid on this corner (Maoribank) is Class II but can be Class III in higher flows. Otherwise there is nothing tricky and it is a fun learners run. It is mostly a roadside run so scouting the Maoribank rapid can be done in advance of the trip.
As with the Twin Lakes run there are plenty of willows to keep an eye on and there is the possibility of river works debris (as at August 2018 either side of the Totara Park Bridge).
There is a nice eddy and rapid at Poets Corner at the second access to Poets Park heading north. This is a great spot to practice technique with learners before embarking on a river run.
The take-out is at the first access road to Poets park after the Moonshine bridge travelling north. Due to easy vehicle access the riverbank at Poets corner can be littered with broken glass that doesn’t mix well with packrafts or bare feet.
It was a nice float at 15 cumec on the Birchville Gauge and okay at 10 cumec.