Our purpose is to preserve New Zealand's whitewater resources and enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.

Permit required to paddle the Arthur River, Fiordland


DOC has recently instituted a permit system for anyone wanting to paddle the Arthur River in Fiordland. Recreationalists of all activities are being asked by Biosecurity NZ to check, clean and dry their gear between any rivers everywhere in NZ. This is a management measure that is slowing the spread of didymo but does not seem to be stopping it. In the case of Fiordland, DOC is taking extra measures in an attempt to completely stop didymo infestation in all rivers which do not have road access. The Arthur is the sole river in this category that is commonly paddled, hence a special permit is required.

Please note that paddlers are not being targeted specifically. Anglers require special permits for all backcountry rivers in Fiordland and if there is a significant level of non-compliance then angling will be banned completely. The Hollyford River has been found to be infected since the introduction of the permit system, highlighting the importance of the measures.

In order to obtain a permit, your kayak and paddling gear must be cleaned under the supervision of one of the following DOC officers, and details will be required of how you will be transporting your kayak dry across Deepwater Basin to the Sandfly Point landing. This is because of the likelihood of Deepwater basin becoming infected. You are required to supply your own cleaning materials, i.e. a gear tub and disinfectant as recommended at http://rivers.org.nz/article/didymo.

DOC Te Anau Visitor Centre (Martin Genet 03 249-07921):
Open 8:30am-6pm, 7 days a week. Prefer to issue permits between 10-12 noon and 1-3pm.


DOC Invercargill (Eric Edwards or Andy Cox at 03 2112400)
Will supervise and issue permits at any reasonable time during and after retail hours.

Operators who may be used for transport to Sandfly Point Landing:

  • Rosco Sea Kayaks 027 268 8999
  • Real Journeys 03 2498090
    Real Journeys provide a pick-up service for Milford Track walkers that runs during the afternoon. Bookings with Real Journeys are available subject to availability and will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Any bookings must be made at least two days in advance.

Information provided by Eric Edwards, DOC. Refer http://www.doc.govt.nz/templates/news.aspx?id=42406.

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