Andrew and I had walked in and paddled the Toaroha River the day before at normal flows. However, it had been rain most of the day and been getting heavier in the afternoon. With rain bringing water levels up around Hokitika and only having time in the afternoon to paddle we decided to head back up to the Toaroha River, with the expectation of some more water. Andrew and I were joined again by Tristan for the paddle.
We parked our car at the take out and begun walking our boats up the trail. There was a lot more water than the previous day, but from what we could see it still looked quite manageable. Once we saw the river from the put in, we were again reminded how much more water we would have for our paddle. The water was flowing very fast, but still looked manageable. We knew where the steeper sections of river were, and that if need be we could bush bash our way back onto the trail and walk back to the car if we felt out of our depth at any time.
The high water certainly kept us on our toes, with the river moving fast combined with some very strong looking holes. The speed of the river meant that swimming out of a hole could become serious, with a loss of a boat or paddle likely.
We took our time down the river, scouting ahead to make sure we had a clear and safe path and all made it to the take out with big smiles and tired arms.
Watch some of the action from our high water trip down the Toaroha River:
Trip Date: 27 December 2010
For more information on this section head to Whitewater NZ’s Toaroha River guide. Note that grading and difficulty can change drastically with varying water levels.