Almost a park ‘n play section the ‘middle Matak’, as it is known, is spoken off not in terms of its fantastic beginner teaching spots and lovely little gorge, instead most discuss flow regimes and which of the two or three excellent play spots are working - or not. The middle Matakitaki is still a river run and I didn’t want to include it in the park ‘n play section, but destination seekers still account for a large number of people down the run. Visit the kayak school or the UD café to see which of the play spots are working if that’s all you want.
The trip starts as a single channel over gravel river bed for a kilometre or so before entering a beautiful gorge. Most of the play features are in this middle section. If you can’t find them yourself – bad luck. After a swing bridge the gorge gives way to open riverbed past the mining operation and down to the take out. Access is a great model of kayaker/land-owner/leasee cooperation and is allowed by the land owners. The kayaking community paid for the upgrade of the road while the leasees organized and paid for the fencing plan that allows for easy access. To get to the take out: from Murchison drive 10 kiometres up the Matakitaki Valley Road. Eighty metres after the road turns to gravel, a gate on the right gives access to a farm track through a paddock to the river