Kaituna / Gnarly Gorge (Pari Tūkino)


as per the Okere Falls section

gates on Lake Rotoiti

Put in: 
Bottom of Awesome Gorge run

Below Awesome Gorge take out you are immediately into the meat of Gnarly Gorge which is a continuation of Awesome Gorge style of paddling but much narrower, steeper and faster with hidden trees and more waterfalls. You must seek quality local beta before you try this one.

Paddlers have been regularly portaging the "Gnarly Gorge" section using the track on river right through the pine forest. It is about a 30 minute walk downstream to the next pool. Be aware the river right is all private land and it is up to the individual to get permission for access. River left for most of the length of "Awesome and Gnarly" is "Scenic Reserve" but there are very few tracks.

Gnarly Gorge is now portaged on river left, through a marked bush track. There are two vantage points that branch off from the main portage track and give the ability to scout.

There is a boat lower at the bottom of the portage and ropes are needed.

This is the information on the signs at the take out for the upper Kaituna run:

  1. The lower Kaituna Gorges are a serious Grade V undertaking. For expert kayakers only.
  2. This is a long, arduous expedition style river trip and will require a strong team, careful planning, food and drinking water. Proper footwear is essential.
  3. It is possible to scout Pari Tūkino (Gnarly Gorge) from two vantage points on the portage track (portage is marked at river level). However, be aware that river hazards move and are unpredictable.
  4. Do not drop in to Pari Tūkino without scouting.
  5. Every descent should be treated as a first descent.
  6. Get up-to-date info from a local before attempting the Lower Gorges.
  7. Please be respectful and have a safe trip.
Graham Charles
Upstream of: 
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 


SJ's picture

WWNZ are asking paddlers to cease using the private land on river right to portage Gnarly gorge.
In practical terms, that means ceasing paddling Awesome, Gnarly, and Smokey until access issues are resolved.

see https://rivers.org.nz/story/kayakers-resist-kaituna-access-threat for further details.