Waikaia / West Branch Waikaia

Info

Class: 
V-V+
Portage?: 
No
Level: 
15 cumecs
Gauge: 

0810mm ideal. Waikaia flow phone, 03 202 7891

Gradient: 
80.0m/km
Length: 
5.0km
Time: 
3-8 hours
Put in: 
Gorge / stream confluence
Take out: 
Canton Bridge
Shuttle: 
2+ hours walk (the first 45 minutes are the worst) worth every step
Maps: 
NZ Topo F43, F44
Character: 
REAL steep
Hot tip: 
This is the ultimate experience
Tags: 
Rain
Quite within his bounds, Keith Riley says this is one of the most exciting pieces of whitewater in the country, the only detrazction being the 2-3 hour walk to the put-in. Fortunately, Keith et al didn't check the gradient before they left or they'd probably never have gone. Dropping at over 70m/km for 2km, this STEEP run out-steeps the steepest on the Coast so far (except for Falls Creek now!). It has countless drops, all big and clean, with not much space between them. Yet all are surprisingly runnable, portageable and scoutable. The gradient eases considerably after the east branch confluence. From there to the take-out at Canton Bridge is about an hour. The entire trip takes about 5 hours with just above normal flow (0800mm) being ideal.

To get to the west branch: from the Canton Bridge, slog up the hill on the right-hand side. Head across the tussocky plains making a bee line for the gorge/stream confluence. The topography makes it fairly clear where this is, but don’t confuse it for the east Waikaia confluence.

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