This run begins at Lake Rotoiti, the source of the mighty Buller, and is worth it if only to paddle from the lake to feel the birth of this majestic river. From start to finish, this run is one long rapid. Make sure you are able to make an eddy to actually get out at the bridge! The section is a good beginner trip with a slightly different feel to it. As a frenetic youth working at Rotoiti Lodge in St Arnaud I paddled this section more than 150 times, mostly on my own because there was no one else to paddle with and I couldn’t wait until the weekends!
To get to the take out: find the river bridge on SH63 (between St Arnaud and Kawatiri Junction) about 5km west of St Arnaud. Park river right of the bridge. To get to the put in: head towards St Arnaud for 1.7km to the signposted turnoff to West Bay Camp Ground. Follow this gravel road for 1.3km to the bridge. Parking and river access are on the right of the bridge. If you are after a longer run continue past the bridge, adding about 12km to the trip. The first 4km are similar to the upper run before the river eases off to class I riffles until the next access point at the Howard River on SH63.