|Looking back at Lake Hawea|
Kayakers are meant to road trip! Local rivers only hold interest for so long; when attention wanes, it’s time to explore. Traveling brings me so much joy, wild landscapes, new paddlers, local beta, reuniting with old friends, crashing at random campgrounds and couches – all culminating in paddling new rivers. Traveling is what kayakers are supposed to do!
|the densely forested New Zealand coast line looking out onto the Tasman Sea|
|endless beaches on the West Coast of the South Island|
|looking into the depths Of Nevis Bluff|
When searching for whitewater, gradient is usually the first major ingredient on the list. Amazingly, the Kawarau River Valley is relatively flat. Long sections flow with huge volume almost unfazed by massive cliff walls on either side. Thankfully, on a few occasions, rock formations and gradient come together to create immense rapids. Probably most noteworthy is Nevis Bluff, a rapid which upon inspection at 280+ cumecs ≈ 10,000 cfs, looks terrifying at best. Scouting from 300 ft above definitely squishes scale, but what I saw looked like huge laterals feeding into river wide frowning holes with boils reaching thirty feet downstream ripping back into the troughs.
|yet another multi tired stack of boats heading to the put in|
Thankfully, Ben Young and James Webster quickly arrived and hinted to move down stream towards the Citroen Rapid. Citroen gets paddled at higher flows than Nevis but still looked like solid class 5 upon first sight. The saving grace was that none of the major features looked terminal, the only major concern was a violent revolving eddy on the left side directly across from a main center pour-over. We took turns paddling the rapid. Only a few expectations were achieved, every paddler was clobbered with huge laterals and blown way offline.
|Gorgeous scenery on the Taipo|
|Kerry Hoglund, in the canyon section|
|Chris Baer, making his way down stream on the Taipo|
The rapids are good, and the scenery is solid but with so many amazing options in New Zealand this ought to be left on the back burner.
|flying up the Taipo|
|Jeff Colgrove dialing the sub 20 line|
|Maruia from the awkward right hand scout|
|adventure brought to you by Chris Baer|