Buller / Gowan Bridge to Rait Road Bridge (Granity Creek)


class III+: <150 cumecs class IV: >150 cumecs

Tasman District Council flow phone 03 544 3393, flow at Longford

2-5 hours
Put in: 
Gowan Bridge off SH6
Take out: 
Rait Road Bridge off SH6
big water, single braid
Hot tip: 
the Owen River Pub is a great place to warm up after a trip

A nemesis for countless neophyte kayakers, spawner of numerous legends (both real and imagined), the Granity Creek section of the Buller has been an area classic forever.

From the put in fun bouncy water keeps you busy for a couple of kilometres down to the top of Granity Creek rapid. Many get out on river right and take a look. Otherwise head down the middle and avoid the obvious hydraulics.

Granity Creek legends abound; in 1983 a guy named Pete Dale swam and lost his boat. A week later a fisherman from Westport phoned and said the mislaid kayak had been found on a sandbar at the river mouth! Dirk Paschier attained guru status by hand paddling Granity for the first time in 1983. In 1999 a World Cup Down River Racing event bought competitors from all over the world to race the rapid, break boats and cannon off walls. Long may it last! Once the formalities of the main Granity Creek rapid are dispensed with, settle back for pleasant rapids and surfing through the fun Graveyard and on down. Two Mile Island is the next obvious feature with excellent eddies to carve up and play in (there is often a play hole between the islands at Two Mile but need ‘just the right amount’ of water to make it good).

To get to the take out: on SH6, about 22km north of Murchison is a gravel road sign posted Raits Roadd. Drive 200m to the bridge. There is an alternative take out at a picnic area 2.3km after Rait Road (heading north) which shortens the section, but keeps the excitement of Granity Creek rapids. To get to the put in: find the turnoff to Lake Rotoroa on SH6 about 30km north of Murchison. Turn onto the gravel road and drive 200m to the bridge over the Buller River. Park either side of the bridge.

NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 


hugh's picture

There is a steel cable in the top of the first class III rapid above Granity Creek rapid. This is the rapid that pushes right against the bank and has large boulders in the flow. The cable may be attached to a concrete block. The cable is just to the right of the largest boulder at the top of the rapid, which is a logical eddy to scout from. It will be covered but still dangerous at higher flows. AVOID.

rexj's picture

Perfect flow for 2 mile island wave varies, but is usually > 80 on the gauge at longford, so high.

Shorter section again by walking back up the track on RHS about 200m down from end of Granity Creek rapid. Track goes up to parking area just before main road bridge across the creek.