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Rangitaiki / Motutua Rapids, IV




The river starts with a narrow but fairly easy rapid under the bridge and opens out for a km or 2. The river is wide, shallow and swift over a shelf-like bedrock bottom but starts to steepen and narrow as it goes over a couple of smallish drops. It stays pretty narrow after this (portaging and inspection is difficult and sometimes painful due to the dense vegetation and the gorge - however, inspection is pretty important in places).
Just after the last rapid I described, there was a logjam which we had to portage. Not too difficult. Not far below this, the river went into a very narrow channel (2m wide) which lasted about 200-300m. The rapid was relatively easy - maybe grade 3, but committing and with logjam potential - inspectable. Below here, there may have been another narrow rapid before widening briefly. Following this was another very long, narrow, fast hydroslide style rapid which, due to high banks and dense vegetation was not really portageable or scoutable - we took a risk and paddled it blind. As it happened, there were no logjams and it was a nice long narrow grade 3+ rollercoaster (perhaps 4 because of degree of commitment) rapid. After this, the river slowed behind the intake dam which is the get out. There is a risk of logjams anywhere on this section of river, and in places, they could be very hard to avoid. It is a unique and fun section.
Map series 260 (1:50,000) Map No V18. Get in is on Ngapuketurua Rd Bridge and get out is at the Rangitaikie canal intake. Turn off Ngapuketurua Rd left into Kiorenui Rd and then left again when you hit the canal to get to the take out.

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