Waipunga / Upper Waipunga

Info

Class: 
III
Portage?: 
No
Level: 
Needs rain or spring flow
Gauge: 

Visual - the rapid at the put in is typical of the run

Gradient: 
0.0m/km
Length: 
7.0km
Time: 
1-3 hours
Put in: 
A rest area off SH5 just downstream of the confluence with the Okoeke gives easy access. BH38 061 795
Take out: 
A few kms north of the Tarawera tavern on SH5 there is a rest area right by the river. Or continue down to the Tarawera hotsprings (a bit more of a walk to the road). BH38 082 752
Shuttle: 
6km
Maps: 
Character: 
Tight boulder gardens and mini gorges - trees!
Hot tip: 
Tags: 
Rain

A tiny Hawke's bay gem, runnable again after the flood in January 2011 washed the willows out. This run is short, roadside and has the bonus of Hukawai falls near the start. If you are driving along SH5 with boats and a few hours to spare, then go for it. Most of the run is continuous boulder gardens with a couple of mini bedrock gorges. The first bridge has Hukawai falls hidden just below around a bend. This is a 2m slot drop that is better in higher water, or take the chicken chute left. Inspect and portage left.

Keep an eye out for trees - at the time of writing (March 2011) there were two that required portage. the first would possibly be good to go in higher water.

There are usually plenty of blue ducks around.

History: 
Credits: 
Gwyn Ashcroft
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 
p0

Comments

Mike Burden's picture

The run from the falls down is fun. Carry boats from the white fence on SH5 and down the dry watercourse. Get in just above the drop you can see from the car park at the look out. Below that drop is a rocky and steep grade 3+ that is boat scoutable. It eases up but the used to be tree problems and sieves that were a lot easier with more water. Good to go about a metre higher than low flow. The only way out is downstream.