Manuherikia / Manuherikia (Ophir Gorge)

Info

Class: 
IV (V)
Portage?: 
No
Level: 
15-50 cumecs
Gauge: 

Otago Regional Council flow phone 03 479 6439, then 1-4-5.

Gradient: 
10.0m/km
Length: 
12.0km
Time: 
4-6 hours
Put in: 
Ophir bridge below Omakau
Take out: 
End of Keddel Rd
Shuttle: 
15km
Maps: 
NZ Topo G41, G42
Character: 
Scenic canyon, technical, tight rapids.
Hot tip: 
Excellent playing in the lower gorge if you have a playboat
Tags: 
Rain

Rapidly gaining the status as one of the runs to do in the area, the Manuherikia has been popular with Otago paddlers since its first descent in 1985 by a UCCC team who had read a report that it was class II. A small, tight gorge, it needs more than normal flow, but thanks to the Otago flow phone system you won't have to waste time driving to the river to check it out.

Initially the gorge is narrow and water flat. The rapids begin after 3km. A diversion tunnel on the right after 5km heralds the beginning of the gorge proper. Between the beginning and end of the tailrace are a number of steep, technical class III-IV rapids. All are easily portaged on the tailrace. They continue 2km past the tailrace outflow. Two steep and technical class V rapids follow each other in quick succession, both with high objective danger from rock sieves and undercuts.

Optimal flows are between 15 and 50 cumecs; at over 50 cumecs the water is very turbulent and becomes solid class V. Below the gorge relents before issuing onto Central Otago farmland just after the Chatto Creek confluence. From here to Keddel Rd is a half hour of flat water. It is possible to take out at Chatto Creek and walk 4km along the old railway line to the Chatto Creek pub.

To get to the put-in; 1.5km south-west of the small settlement of Omakau on SH85 is a short gravel road to the Ophir bridge. Put in there.

To get to the take-out; drive east on SH85 towards Springvale. Look for Keddel Rd. Turn down this and follow it 1.5km to the river.

The Manuherikia features in a 2013 video by Rory Allardice http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_e78hYENPM

History: 
Credits: 
Graham Charles
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 
p0