Another quite interesting paddle is the Waipapa River near Mangakino which doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves. The river is mostly grade I/II which meanders through an abundance of native fauna that is predominantly made up of beech forest and ferns which line the river’s margins. The river is wide, flows over bedrock type granite and can be scrapy in places. As such the run would definitely benefit from a tad bit of rain, but needn’t be in flood. Two reasonably difficult pool drops about halfway down the river keep the trip interesting. The first waterfall announces itself through a dramatic narrowing of the river into a 2metre wide channel that lasts for about 200 metres before going over a classic drop. Take any line as long as you remember to smile for the camera. Scouting and/or portaging is possible on the left and at this point the river forks so you can keep doing the drop by walking back up along the right channel. The second two-tiered drop follows shortly after and is easily recognised by the sudden drop in gradient and a house-sized boulder perched in the middle of the river Once again scouting (or portaging) can be done on river left. The character of the run could provide an adrenalin shot in very high - flood flows as most of the gradient drops away in only about a mile at most and the drops could turn savage. Chicken chutes (?) will open up on river left in these conditions. The last 3km of the river are flat into Lake Waipapa on the Waikato River. Get-out for the Waipapa River is a small bridge halfway down the Waipapa lake. To get to the get-in you drive further down the lake. The road veers inland for about five kilometres before you get to Ranginui Rd. Turn into this road and take the dirt-track on your right after 3km which will see you to Drum Bridge. Although its only four k to the put-in from here, progress is slow as the road is barely maintained but still doable without 4WD. Total shuttle is 10km.
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: