Arriving in Christchurch, New Zealand I met up with Tristan at the airport early in the morning. We started organising our vehicle, kayaks and other essentials for the next couple of weeks on the road. Andrew arrived later that evening. We stayed in and around Christchurch for a couple of days finalising everything before setting off for the West Coast.
Over in the West Coast we begun having some car troubles. We tried to get that sorted out, which wasted another day or two. Meanwhile, it seemed there were no other paddlers out in Hokitika. There had been a really low amount of rainfall recently and the rivers on the West Coast had all become too low to paddle, meaning nobody was about. We called our good friend and Christchurch local Brendon, who was heading up North to the Murchison area for some paddling so we made plans to meet him up there. The rivers in the Murchison area are more mellow than the West Coast, but it meant we’d have plenty of people to paddle with and it would be a good warm up before heading back down to the West Coast.
It was the morning of the 24th December 2010 before we set off for our first river trip of our New Zealand holiday. We headed up the Buller River to the Granity Creek Run. We had quite a large and diverse group consisting of Tristan, Andrew and myself. There were also a few kiwi’s including Brendon, 3 Swiss guys and a bunch of Germans.
The Buller River is quite a large river, with a fair amount of water flowing down it. There are a number of sections, none of which are too steep. The 10km Granity Creek section is mostly made up of flowing water, with a lot of grade 2, some approaching grade 3 wave trains.
There is one rapid of note called the Granity Creek rapid, which is about 150m long and would be the steepest part of this section. The rapid is a long wave train with a few holes and hydraulics. The waves in this rapid are much bigger than anything else on this section and the rapid could be easily walked on the right hand side.
There are a number of fun little play waves and eddies throughout the entire section. A short while below the Granity Creek rapid is Two Mile Island. There is often a nice play wave with eddy service that will form here. We took the left most channel which had a small but glassy wave below with a nice eddy.
Overall this is a pretty fun run. It was the first time I was paddling my new Bliss Stick Mystic I picked up for this trip. The run gave me a good chance to play around in a bunch of waves and eddies and get a feel for the kayak, without being any real serious rapids or hard moves.
Trip Date: 24 December 2010
Check out Whitewater NZ for more information on the Buller River: Granity Creek Section