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 section described. There were a few discussions about the grading of this trip on the facebook group, so we look forward to further descents to confirm the information.

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Wangapeka Track from Rolling Junction to Kings Creek Hut
Its about 3hrs 30mins from the Rolling Junction carpark to Kings Creek Hut. In 2012, a huge slip about 1h 30mins from the carpark caused a huge lake and gnarly rapid to form. The slip is still quite unstable (2017), with further rock fall possible, or even a dam burst and flash flood.

The Wangapeka Track page on the DOC website has more information about the track, huts to stay in and alerts about the dangers of the slip.

Wangapeka River (III/IV) from Kings Creek Hut to Slip Lake
Aaron reported some class IV drops, as well as sections of class III. He was able to portage the harder rapids.

Slip Lake and Slip rapids (P)
The size of the lake appears to have changed over time, but there’s still an obvious lake. The large slip is very visible on the true right side, which is where the access track and portage route goes. The Slip rapids look un-runnable.

Wangapeka River (III) from slip rapid to Rolling River junction
Aaron reported that the paddling gradually eased to class III by the Rolling River Junction

Aaron reported a flow of 50 cumecs on the Motueka at Woodstock gauge for his trip. The Wangapeka is a tributary of the Motueka, and showed the same flow behaviour on the storm cyle before his trip as the Wangapeka at Walter Peak. With that in mind, I’d suggest the Wangapeka and Walter Peak would probably end up being the main gauge for this trip in the future.

3 Trip reports Log your trip

  1. Jeremy Ward says:

    This trip is definitely grade 3 due to the steepness and multiple pinning hazards all the way down. I ran the section from 1/4 way down the slip rapids in my playboat today to see if they were possible to kayak. I got pinned twice but being a very experienced kayaker, I was able to free myself and stay in the boat. I doubt the slip rapid is possible in a pack raft and I would recommend only more experienced pack rafters take on the lower section as it is very steep.

  2. Kate says:

    Nathan Fa’avae described it as a ‘non stop technical grade 2’. Does anyone else have any comments on the grading?

    1. PackraftingTrips.NZ says:

      Hi Kate,

      We think the article could be a bit misleading: the images of rapids in Aaron’s trip report are certainly greater than grade 2..

      The take-away lesson; gradings are subjective, and vary with flow!


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