A day trip to a big west coast river, with a stunning backdrop. If you’ve got the skills you can head above this section for some serious boating..
Thanks to Elias Love for the photos and info for this trip page.
Highway to first swingbridge
The first kilometre or so of land from the site of the old SH6 bridge is privately owned; so you must contact the farmer before beginning this trip. The contact information, as well as a good description of the tracks on the DOC website page for the Whataroa, Perth and Butler valleys .
Its about 2hrs walk to the put in beneath the swingbridge and you can scout the rapids and flows on the walk in. Its worth taking the track up to Barrowmans flat and checking out the entrance to the gorge (III+/IV).
Whataroa River (II+) swingbridge to old SH6 bridge
The biggest rapid is at the confluence with the Perth River. There’s lots of fun wave trains on the way down; the water can be big, but its not technical. About 1.5hrs paddling out, depending on the flows.
Visual. The track/route in follows the river so you can check the rapids to ensure they are within your ability.
Going further upstream
There are established heli-kayak sections further up the Whataroa, which could make for a longer day or overnight trip if you’ve got the skills. Read the descriptions on the www.rivers.org.nz website.
Whataroa (III+/IV) Barrowman Flat to SH6 (which includes the easier lower section described here).
Whataroa (IV+/V) Butler Hut to Barrowman Flat