Sunday, January 6, 2008

North Island Boating

Heading north through the North Island, we stopped off at the Waiahonu river. I’d paddled this before on my last trip, and again it did not disappoint. The short upper section of the Onipango also provided a adrenaline fix with a fine selection of narrow drops in walled-in gorges. There’s a big portage half way down which we did on the wrong side of the river apparently last time…. It wasn’t any easier on the correct side!!
We met and paddled with Dave and Emily, who were visiting relatives in the North Island. Dave had lived nearby for a number of years, and was keen to get on Huka Falls. This was a section we’d tried to paddle last time, but flows had never been less than huge and scary. Dave had a plan however, and at 6:00 AM, we were on the river, with perfect first time flows. We came back later in the day, and were impressed to see the increased flows, and were glad that we’d made it up early in the morning, and had successful runs.

From Taupo, we headed to friends of a friend for Xmas, Thanks Richard and Carla. Christina was visiting from Australia, for a few days boating with us, and the next day we loaded up her rental kayak and headed out boating again.

First stop was the fantastic Kaituna river. A beautiful narrow fern lined gorge with numerous small drops, and a couple of bigger ones thrown in….. We warmed up on the lower section, putting in below the big falls, but requiring a hike from the car park.

The next day we headed to the Rangiteiki river. Shuttle involved many miles of logging roads, both driven, and jogged. Unfortunately we’d just missed getting a ride with the raft companies, but the run was worth it, many may kilometers of good boulder rapids.

We camped at the Aniwhenia campsite, with many holidaying families, but very convenient for the lower section of the Rangiteiki. Starting just above Aniwhenia falls, which I didn’t run particularly well, certainly not encouraging Cheryl and Christina to run it. The rest of the run was a mellow class 2 run, with plenty of water.

For Christina’s final day, we headed back to the Kaituna, this time for the full run. Good runs were had down the big waterfall by all!! This is a great short run that you can run lap after lap on, and never get tired of it…… We also met a kid with a pet baby possum!

We camped nearby, and dropped Christina at the airport the next morning, a bit later than planned due to our first car issue, a flat tyre, requiring a speedy grand prix style tyre change. After finally tracking down a tyre garage we were on our way to the Wairoa, one of the best dam release rivers in New Zealand. This great short run is pretty continuous, with a couple of larger exciting drops!!!

From there we headed north the meet up with Tim for New Years. Tim and Rob will be joining us again for a few more days boating very soon!!!

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