Toaroha / Lower Toaroha


class III-IV: most, class (V): flood


1-3 hours
Put in: 
Below Toaroha Canyon.
Take out: 
When the river hits farmland and the 4WD track drops onto the river flats.
helicopter section 7B (or 50min walk for a shorter run)
Steep, moderate, boulder gardens.
Hot tip: 
A lovely walk.

The Toaroha, a tributary of the Kokatahi River, has been popular with Coast boaters for some time. Flowing out of the Alps, it cuts through a gorge in a small area of schist bedrock east of Hokitika. After rain the Toaroha is a fast, rolling run, pushing into class IV/V, and during normal flows it offers superb class III-IV boulder gardens.

There are three options: walk for 50 minutes along an old tram track for an enjoyable run with good playing. For a longer and harder run - fly to the bottom of Toaroha Canyon. See the Upper Toaroha for a longer full day trip. Any helicopter costs in the Toaroha are reasonable as it is on the doorstep of the Hokitika operators. If you do fly in - the fun thing to do is get your boats dropped as high as you can then portage, ferry, and paddle your way upstream to the last waterfall drop out of Toaroha Canyon. This fun little huck is a blast and good for picture taking and a great little adventure trip to add to your investment in flying.

To get to the take out: from Hokitika follow signs to Kokatahi. At the road junction at Kokatahi turn left onto Upper Kokatahi Rd. Follow the road for 11 kilometres crossing the Styx River on the way. Take the first right after the Styx bridge, signposted Toaroha Valley Access. Follow 3km of gravel road which crosses the Kokatahi River after 1 kilometre. Follow this road to where it drops down to the lower river terrace (leaving all gates as found) and park off the road somewhere.

The 50 minute walk in: follow the farm road and look for track markers heading away from the river, up into the bush. Follow this track until it splits and is signposted to the low water track. Head down to the river and put in where you want.

Graham Charles
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 


chchww's picture

Access to Toaroha
(Hokitika, West Coast)

We went in there on Monday and talked to the farmer (at the dairy shed on your right as you turn onto the gravel) who said the group of paddlers in there a couple of days earlier had damaged some of the gates, creating a short in his electric fence. He said it took them the better part of a day to track down and fix the issue, leaving him out of pocket and wasted time.
He's looking at putting on a charge of $50 per paddler per year to get access beyond the top carpark by the shed where the DOC track starts.

I reckon it's easier for us all to pay couple of beers/token donation to say thanks for maintaining the track than have to worry about sorting keys and paying for them!
Don't be a dick, respect his land, stay in his good books by asking permission, our experience is he's very friendly if you pop in to the dairy shed, especially with a cold one ;-)