Whakatikei / Bulls Run Road to Hutt River (Whakatikei)


Hutt Gorge must be in high flood, needs sustained recent rainfall
1-2 hours
Put in: 
Enter Wainui Stream at the end of Bulls Run Road, off Moonshine Hill Road, Upper Hutt
Take out: 
Poets Corner, Next to SH2, on Hutt River, Upper Hutt (north of Moonshine Bridge)
Narrow road approx 10km along Moonshine Hill Rd, then Bulls Run Road
R27, R26
Small river, short gorge with class III rapids when in flood.
Hot tip: 
Watch out for logs. Take your time or you will miss it!

The Whakatikei River run is short but intense when in high flood. The Hutt River needs to be very high (>= 3m on Te Marua Gauge) for the Whakatikei to be "on". Enter a small side stream at the end of Bulls Run Road and pick your way past the trees etc and enter the Whakatikei after approx 1km. Don't rush - try to play a bit as you paddle down or it will all be over before you realise. After 2-3km of class II+ the gradient picks up with approx half a km of good class III rapids which are boat scoutable. On entering the Hutt River be aware of the extra power of the main stream as it thunders into the walls at the confluence. Paddle across the Hutt River and take out at Poets Corner on river left.

Make sure you keep a good eye out for logs.

As far as I know, the section above the one described here should contain some class II-III water but has not yet been run by any current local paddlers. Access to the upper section is difficult. There is a possibility that GWRC may dam the Whakatikei for water supply.



Alan Bell
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 


robo13's picture

Paddled it today when the hutt was at 3650 on Te Murua gauge.

This is a wicked little gem. At the ford we were knee deep.
A couple grunty rapids halfway down into the gorge and some big stoppers here and there but all very manageable.

It will be obvious when you come up to the grunters so eddy out on river left and scout them.

The hutt confluence was raging so we walked up a bit to get a good fairy.By the time we got out it was down to 3000mm.

Have a hoon. Solid grade III+ river in parts.


Nigel P's picture

A few VUCCers ran it this weekend with the Akatarawa gauge at 1600 and again at 1300, the Akatarawa catchment is adjacent to the Whakatikei's and a good indicator. Both were excellent runs and at 1600 the river was fairly continuous with one rapid pushing into Class IV. At 1300 it was an excellent Class II - III+ run. There was a bit of wood in the river but nothing that couldn't be easily seen and avoided. Get on it Welly paddlers, it is a gem.

Aaron.Boslem's picture

Paddled it today for the first time.

A couple of notes to add to the above:

Two options to get to the get-in. The first being going up Moonshine Hill rd from Upper Hutt, or if your comming from Porirua you can head down Moonshine Hill Rd before you go over the Haywoods. This way is a nicer as the road is bigger compared to the other route, but creates a longer shuttle.

When looking for the get-in, make sure you head left at the forestry gates. If you go through those gates you may not get out. After the turn off there is a locked gate about 50m above a small stream, this is your get in. If the water is flowing over the ford it is good to go! Higher the better of course. (when we did it, it was just below waist deep).

When going down the stream take extra care when heading down as there are a lot of trees hanging over the river.

Once at the confluence the river is on, as it says above you have about 2km of grade II before there are a few steeper grade II+ III sections. All boat scoutable, but watch for rocks at lower flows. And of course watch out for logs!!

This a choice run at the right flow, and I can see with more water it getting a bit more exciting!! A Must when the water is high.