Ohinemuri / Karangahake Gorge

Info

Class: 
III, IV-IV+
Portage?: 
No
Level: 
< 126 too low, 126-130 good intermediate flow, > 130 expert
Gradient: 
6.5m/km
Length: 
5.5km
Time: 
1-3 hours
Put in: 
Owharoa Falls carpak
Take out: 
old rail bridge 800m below Karangahake township
Shuttle: 
5.5km
Maps: 
T13
Character: 
Short and sweet, with holes and rocks (depending on flow) - watch out for the infamous Big Bertha hole.
Hot tip: 
The Whaitawheta is a stone's throw away
Tags: 
Rain

Proximity to Auckland is one of the best (or wors) features about K' Gorge. Whatever the case this stretch of water has won the hearts of many, and despite its short length and limited whitewater, it remains immensely popular.

The Ohinemuri runs through the spectacular Karangahake Gorge beside SH2 between Waihi and Paeroa. The Gorge has been popular for decades with adventure seekers from the city as it has a river to paddle and some spectacular rock climbing on the cliffs above. With its huge boulders mid-river, K' Gorge is unlike many waterways in the north, providing not only interesting whitewater but also a playground for practising eddy turns and other stuff.

This run is worth a visit if you're passing and there's been plenty of rain in the last 48 hours. From the Owharoa put in, the first few kilometres are easy class I-II water. The action begins just above the township of Karangahake with a drop into class IV-IV+ (only in flood) bouldery rapids. This is the start of a kilometre of fun whitewater down to the take out.

To get to the put-in: Owharoa Falls is about one kilometre east of the township of Waikino. Park and find the easiest way down to the water. If you don't want to paddle the top section there are many other possible put in spots as you drive down the gorge.

The take out is where the walkway through an old tunnel comes out on the road, about 800 metres east of Karangahake.

Flow phone: 08-322 5334 Listen for the recording for the Ohinemuri River at Karangahake. You are interested in the first 3 numbers (ignore the metrics used): < 126 stay home 126 - 130 good intermediate flow 130 - 134 starts getting pushy 135 - 140 good solid flow for advanced paddlers 140 - 145 expert level - or volunteer for shuttle duties 145+ serious stuff - river will be over the road! Cops unhappy. K' Gorge flow level can also be checked on the internet at http://www.ew.govt.nz/enviroinfo/riverlevelsandrainfall/riverlevelsmap/6...

History: 
-
Credits: 
Graham Charles, Guide Wassink
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 
p31

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