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Akatarawa / Karapoti to Hutt River, II+

Average: 3.5 (2 votes)
Alternate Name: 
The Akas


Needs to be >= 0.9m on Te Marua Gauge (Akatarawa at Cemetry)
Akatarawa at Cemetry
1-2 hours
Put in: 
At first bridge on Karapoti Rd, off Akatarawa Road
Take out: 
At Hutt River confluence just off Akatarawa Road
4 km tar sealed along Akatarawa Road
NZMS 260 R26
Grade II with small rock gardens and some play waves plus one Grade III rapid - The Wall.
Hot tip: 
Good for learners who are ready to roll in the river and want to try river reading.

The Akas run is well-known by Wellington kayakers as the run you do if the Hutt Gorge is too high or if you are not yet ready to tackle the Gorge. Many a budding kayaker has cut their teeth as it were on the Akas on weekend mornings and/or after work in the evenings.

Being only 10 minutes from Hutt Valley Canoe Club clubrooms this is the local learners trip. However it does need some rain to make it fun.

Starting at the first bridge at Karapoti, the river leads down to a small drop which can provide some playing at good flows. 2 km of easy rock gardens brings you to another small wave with an excellent eddy where new paddlers can learn to surf at the right flows.

Another 1.5 km of easy rock gardens culminates in a steeper rapid after a left hand bend which has 2 routes. The right hand route has most water at lower flows but has some rocks to avoid as you drop down. A right hand bend follows as you head down to the Wall Rapid.

The Wall rapid is easy grade III but can be intimidating to new paddlers. Run it on the right or paddle to the left and portage over a few rocks.

Another 1.5km and you are at the confluence with the Hutt River. If you left your car here paddle across the Hutt and take out. Otherwise carry on for another 2 or so km to the Hutt Valley Canoe Club and exit up the steps.

At high flows the Akas washes out and is a fast 0.5 hour run with few waves but plenty of swirly stuff and 1-2 holes. At high flows swimmers will take a while to make the banks and boat rescue can be tricky as the eddies wash out.


Alan Bell
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