Tākaka / Asbestos Hut track to Cobb Dam (Upper Tākaka)


8 - 20 cumecs

Upper Takaka at http://www.tdc.govt.nz

2-4 hours
Put in: 
300m after big slip on Asbestos Hut track
Take out: 
Cobb Dam
2.5km + walk
Steep, big boulder gardens, sieves
Hot tip: 
Don’t try and get to the river down the slip!

The Takaka River has its headwaters on the table lands north of Mt Arthur. It has been paddled from the Grid Iron Shelter but there is an unrunnable section above the Asbestos Mine.

Once on the river, or creek depending on your definition, get your brain into tight and rocky mode. About an hour of boat scoutable rock gardens leads into the first of the ‘disappearing horizon lines’. A series of very steep rock jumbles follows. Most will require scouting, portaging and some paddling. The last two kilometres continue steep and tight but all the drops have been paddled at the right flows. At 8-12 cumecs the run is tight and shallow. Above 12 cumecs expect fast continuous water with some authoritative hydraulics.

To get to the take out: Drive up the Cobb Dam road from upper Takaka. Leave a car at the dam. To get to the put-in: Continue 2.5 kilometres past the dam to a hairpin corner. Signs to Asbestos Hut indicate the start of the track. Walk along the track for ¾ hour. Once around a BIG slip continue for about 300m then bash down a ridge to the river.

Graham Charles
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 


andrew.yates's picture

We ran the upper Takaka from Gabbro Ck at around 20-30cu on the Takaka at Harwoods gauge (after taking Cobb River flow out) on 26-27/10/13.

The put in is hard to describe with no obvious track down to the river - from the first slip on the walk in, you get a good view of the second, bigger slip. Hike around the obvious diversion (100m) from the main track and when you return to the main track find a suitable point to follow your nose to the river.

An hour or so of wicked boulder gardens leads to the first horizon line where shit gets steep! The pace slows, the portages take time and the rocky jumbles sometimes just don't go. The clean looking 20footer in the centre of the river mid-way through the steep section has a ROCK at the bottom of it. Our truck'n'trailer huck resulted in a bruised tail bone and bruised bum of two team members, one with a cracked boat, the other dented. Land flat or don't run.

Once through the stacked triple drop that you may have seen from the drive in, the steep section is over and a couple of ks of boat scoutable read'n'run leads you to the confluence with the Cobb (at the powerstation).

Allow plenty of time if you dont have any local beta, our strong team of 4 got caught out and had to hike out and back in the next day due to fading daylight! The upper T'car-car is a classic 'north coast' adventure boating run, well worth the effort - walk the shuttle, it's not that long!