http://www.horizons.govt.nz/default.aspx?pageid=172 > River Level > Waikawa at North Manakau Rd
The Waikawa stream is probably the best creek in the region when it's been raining steady and the rivers are on.
If its over 900mm then its going but 900mm is low so expect some scrapy class III-IV action at those kind of flows, but it gets better as water levels go up. When the river is charging around 1,600mm and over expect a non-stop run with a big water feel even though the river is only four or so meters wide at most points and still often only a couple of feet deep.
Once at the take-out check out the ford; if the water is not flowing under the ford then dont bother driving up to the put-in.
Be sure to leave a couple of cars at the bottom if its high, you won't be able to resist lapping the run. On the shuttle up to the top you can check out most of the river from high up for wood, seems to attract very little.
From the top carpark walk up the track alongside the river for five minutes till it drops down to meet the river at a big fork.
The river starts off with fast moving grade II-III water before it drops into some cool class IV rapids which are a quick warm up for the Car rapid, a 250m stretch of what could be described as a class IV+ rollercoaster.
Hold on tight and be sure not to swim if it's high. In low water most of the rapid can be scouted river left (keep a eye out for the rapid's namesake). After this rapid the action eases off a bit with a couple more classy III-IV's before easing off to flatter water. Watch for branches in the last of the paddle out, then take out river right directly above the ford. The gradient is 42m/km for first 2km then 5m/km for last kilometre of flat water (class I).
To get to the take-out: On SH1 in Manakau on the eastern side of the road turn onto North Manakau Road then drive approximately 3.5km till you see a sign for the Waikawa stream recreational reserve. Park down in the gravel car park by the river.
To get to the put-in: Drive back out of the reserve then carry on heading up the road until the end of the tarmac. There should be a gate onto a gravel road, pass through making sure to leave the gates as they were, and carry on right till the end. From here walk the five minutes along the track to the put in at the river junction.