The Para Para has a four kilometre trip in a beautiful gorge and you can fly. This little class IV number needs water (8 - 15cumecs) but has the normal Golden Bay fare of plenty of three metre falls into clean pools with portages around log jams and rock sieves. It even has the normal gradient of 50m/km.
The first 500m is class I to an old dam. Portage this on the right and the first drop/logjam on the left. After a few bedrock type drops the river changes into steep technical rockgarden rapids. There are a few short portages interspersed with classic drops with plenty of air. Towards the end is a long steep section with a three metre waterfall. Just after this is the last short gorge with a complex drop. Portage by jumping onto the centre rock then launching. The other option is to portage over the cliffs (1/2 hour). The rapids continue to the road end. Take out here or continue to the estuary and the main road.
From Takaka drive to the Parapara bridge. Wait for the helicopter. If you drive up the river left side to where the road joins the river you will get an idea of the flow unaffected by the estuary. Drive another couple of kilometres on the main road until Plain Rd. Turn left on Plain Rd and drive 3km to a road junction. Turn left and drive through a gate (there is a phone number to call before crossing the land). Follow this road down past two gates and stop at the hay shed if you don’t have 4WD. About 10 metres passed the gate a steep dirt road heads up the hill. Drive or walk up. Either keep an eye out for an old sign in the scrub to Richmond Flat or dial E2480655, N60499895 on your GPS. Once you find the overgrown track thrash down it for about 30 - 40 minutes. Once you see the river through the trees you will get to a small stream. Crash down this and hey presto.