Mararoa / South Mavora Lakes to Kiwi Burn

Info

Class: 
II-III
Portage?: 
No
Level: 
Above average flows
Gauge: 

Visual, and <em>Southland Times</em> fishing levels; anything more than low and clear

Gradient: 
8.0m/km
Length: 
6.5km
Time: 
1-2 hours
Put in: 
The first swingbridge at South Mavora Lakes
Take out: 
Kiwi Burn swingbridge
Shuttle: 
5.5 km
Maps: 
E42, D43
Character: 
Scenic, single braid, small gorges
Hot tip: 
Go for the weekend, take your mountain bike
Tags: 
Moderate
Rain
The Mararoa flows from the two Mavora Lakes between Lake Te Anau and Lake Wakatipu and empties into the Waiau River. It is a beautiful area and the river trip no less. Camping at the lakes is stunning and I suggest taking mountain bikes for exploring further up the valley.

From the put-in at the lake it's a fantastic float alongside honey-dew beech forest and through clear pools where trout cruise beneath underwater ledges. The forest gives way to a short gorge as the rapids pick up, climaxing with three drops. Rumour has it that these can get to class IV in very high flows, but in anything other than a big flood they are class III. The rapids settle as the gorge eases and the river breaks into farmland down to the next short gorge under the Kiwi Burn swingbridge. This small section is used often for beginner teaching sessions and novice slalom races. Take out and walk up the track to the carpark.

To get to the put-in: turn off SH93 (between Lumsden and Te Anau) at signs to Mavora Lakes. Twenty six kilometres of gravel road takes you to the lakes and camping areas. Park near the the first swingbridge and put in.

To get to the take-out: drive about 5.5km down the valley and look for a DOC sign on the left side, opposite a gate, indicating access to the Kiwi Burn area via a swingbridge. Head down a farm track for 800m to the parking area near the bridge.

History: 
Credits: 
Graham Charles
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 
p265