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

Acheron / Chimney Stream to Clarence, I-II+ (P)



Best above summer flows. <10 cumecs is bony but navigable; 20-40 is II- III.
2-6 hours
Take out: 
Just below the Clarence confluence.
Easy water interspersed with rocky class II rapids, with some class III features. There is a class IV rapid in a rocky narrows just above the confluence which should be scouted.
Hot tip: 
The Acheron is bigger than the upper Clarence.

The Acheron lies in the wide open spaces of inland Marlborough and with road access for all its length it's a good paddle for those who like scenery with their paddling. Most of the river is easy single channel with a few corners, but there are a number of bedrock rapids which require class II and III skills to negotiate. The river is best with flows in the 20-50 cumecs flow range, but it is still a scenic float plus bony rapids run at 15-20 cumecs.

The put in can suit your timetable, but about 25km upriver the river is braided Class I and mostly of interest for bird watchers and fishers. The access is via the Molesworth road via Hanmer Springs and Jacks Pass and access details are available on DoC website. Generally you can get on this road between Christmas and early April, but kayakers can ask DoC Marlborough or DoC Waimakariri for access. The road is OK for cars with reasonable ground clearance.

Hugh Canard


hugh's picture

Robin: OK until you get to near the confluence where the river jumps from Grade 1 to Grade 3 and then Grade 4 in a narrow rocky gorge. The other idea is that people don't know what they're missing if we don't give them a wee heads up on these out of the way rivers.

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