West Matukituki River (II/IV) above Raspberry Flat

A very scenic out-and-back trip in Aspiring National Park. With options for beginners, experts and bike rafters, this river flows, through farmland, beech forest and huge Otago peaks.

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Options overview

Bike rafting

From Raspberry Creek Carpark to Aspiring Hut, the route is a 4WD track, which is commonly cycled. This would work well combined with the grade II section for a day’s bike-rafting.

Grade IV long walk-in

Head all the way up to Shovel flat (3-4hrs) and paddle the top gorge.

The river descends through a tighter section with class IV drops, seives and some portages until just above Aspiring Hut, when it becomes grade II.

See the video below from the team at Packrafting Queenstown (guided trips, gear hire, instruction, gear sales) which shows the upper gorge. The flow was 55 cumecs, and they reported that it “could do with a bit more water”.

Grade II walk in

Put on near Aspiring Hut to enjoy lots of long flat stretches and some small wave trains. There’s a couple of small class II rapids in there as well.

You’ll want a bit more than the 40 cumec mean flows, otherwise you’ll be scraping a fair bit.

Take out before Rob Roy stream to avoid the grade IV section by the swingbridge.. (If you’re a grade II paddler, you should be scouting the take out before you start to avoid any unpleasant surprises)

Thanks to Dan Clearwater for the pics from the grade II walk in option (below)

Grade IV super short walk: ‘The Swing bridge’ section

From Raspberry Flat, follow your nose up the track and put on above the swingbridge. Needs a little bit of water to be runable, so find other places to get your groove on when things are super dry.

Check out the video below from Mark Oates. It shows the upper gorge (IV), then also the swingbridge section from 1:50 onwards.


Be aware that Wanaka River Journeys (as well as recreational jet boaters) regularly operate on the Matukituki River. These jet boats have legal authorisation to boat up the West Branch to the National Park Boundary at Aspiring Hut. This means you could theoretically encounter them at any stage during this paddle.  Practically, it would be very difficult to get up through the rapid below the Rob Roy Stream confluence, and they appear not to be offering regular trips up the West Branch at this time. However they definitely do operated regularly below the East/West Branch confluence, and up the East Branch, so its worth reading the Jetboat courtesy code for safety tips before you head out, and give them a call!


Matukituki River at West Wanaka

Median Flow is about 40 cumecs, which ends up being a little boney in the class I/II section.

2 Trip reports Log your trip

  1. Tim Sikma says:

    Here is the link to Mark’s video.

  2. Huw Miles says:

    I think that link through to Mark’s video is down

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