The Mangorewa River crosses the old coach road that links Rotorua and Tauranga. Mostly it's no more than a trickle of water linking a series of swimming holes in a stunning gorge. But - after a decent nights rain the river turns into something resembling a half pipe for kayakers.
From the Pyes Pa Rd put in, the river starts out shallow and fast with a smooth flat bottom and a range of easy waterfalls. One larger fall, about an hour from the put in, is normally portaged. After this fall the gradient starts to pick up a little, the walls close in,and the river starts to look like the Kaituna. Most rapids can be boat scouted or easily from the bank but there are a couple of blind gorges which offer no chance of scouting and care must be taken to avoid logs.
About 10km down the water volume increases because of natural springs in the river. The water gushing from the rocks on both sides is quite impressive and also allows this section of river to be run year round. It is possible to gain access through Lempriere's farm. It will cost about $40 per team to get a ride down the farm on the tractor and you must call before arriving.
Just below the springs are the two biggest falls on the river. The first is at the bottom of a steep rapid. In low flows you may want to portage on the left, in higher flows it can be run on river right. The second fall is 100m downstream. This is an exciting one because there is no chance to scout or portage!! But a good boof off the right side will see you safely in the eddy.. A few more small drops keep the interest up until the gradient eases right off. After this keep an eye out for a large water gauge on the left side of the river. The track is on the right side of the river just opposite this and takes you 200m up through pine forest and onto a farm and Maungarangi Rd. If you miss this you can paddle to the Kaituna confluence, turn up it a short distance and get out at Long Ridge Park.
To get to the put in: from Rotorua head around the lake through the small settlement of Ngongotaha. About 5km north of the township is the turnoff to Tauranga on Pyes Pa Rd. Follow this road for about 16km until it drops into a deep gorge - this is the Mangorewa.
To get to the take out: there are a couple of options and it doesn't make much difference. Either take Te Matai Rd through to Te Puke then head back south. Or go back to SH33 past the Kaituna River and head north on this. You are looking for Maungarangi Rd off SH33 about 2km south of Paengaroa. Once on this road go 900m down to Long Ridge park just before the Kaituna River bridge. Access the river via the park.