TDC Hydrology Dept
The Waingaro is a tributary of the Takaka. It’s a long valley with its headwaters close to the Cobb in amongst high mountains so spring flows are good and allow paddling most of the time through this period. Otherwise rain is required. 0.8-1 gauge is an optimal flow and there is plenty of playboating to be had. Above 1.5 gauge the section from Forks Hut is more than enough to keep a good tem busy.
The Stanley/Waingaro were first run in 1992 as a two day trip with an overnight stay at the Forks Hut. The Stanley is a steep creek which begins its life at a spring below the slip which forms Lake Stanley. It is runnable with many long rapids.
The Waingaro above the Forks Hut is very small (6cumecs) but offers four hours of class III - IV water. There is a short class V gorge just above the hut involving a waterfall with a rather retentive hydraulic (underneath the swingbridge). The most frequently chosen line is to portage on the left down to the hut.
From the hut the first few kilometres are open class II paddling. The first gorge is obvious and is home to a dozen or so class III - IV rapids. There is a brief respite before the next gorge which takes a couple of hours to get through and is mostly class IV. Keep eyes open for the common Golden Bay sieves. The gorge ends with a 3m waterfall then the river opens up and settles into a routine of class II - III rapids with a sprinkling of class IV just to keep you honest. A final gorge just above the take out provides a good finale to the trip and has some good playspots for those with enough energy left. The take out is 1km downstream of the river gauge or at the Paynes Ford bridge.
To get to the put-in: Arrange with the pilot to get picked up at the Paynes Ford bridge or, with bigger groups, from the Cobb airstrip and leave a car at the bridge.
Trip length: Stanley 6km, Upper Waingaro 4km, Waingaro 20km