Special chance to navigate rapids

Kayaker Ewan Rodway at the top of a 2m drop on the Motatapu River. PHOTO: CAM KERR
Kayaker Ewan Rodway at the top of a 2m drop on the Motatapu River. PHOTO: CAM KERR
Paddlers from as far afield as Geraldine and Dunedin converged on the Motatapu River near Wanaka recently to experience rapids seldom navigated by kayakers.

Fifty-three kayakers and two pack rafters entered the river at the confluence of the northern and southern branches of the Motatapu River and navigated the level 3-graded rapids down a 10km stretch of the river.

It was organised by Whitewater New Zealand and Central Otago Whitewater spokesman Hamish Darling said the water levels were low but all paddlers had a great time, "noting how such a high-class river was right on Wanaka’s doorstep".

The "biggest sticking point" for white-water kayakers was getting access to rivers and the Motatapu River Open Day "would not have happened if it was not for the generosity of the Motatapu Station managers", Mr Darling said.

The water levels had been low, but October was usually the best month for river kayaking because of the snowmelt boosting rivers and he hoped it would become an annual event.

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