Kawarau River (Dogleg)
|Stretch:||Near Bungee Bridge to the Rum Currie’s Hut|
|Flows:||~100 to ?00 cumecs|
|Gradient:||17 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Trail upstream of the Highway 6 bridge near Gibbston Winery|
|Take-out:||Rum Currie’s Hut|
|Shuttle:||5.9 km (10 minutes one-way)|
New Zealand 2016/2017 Day 19 Morning:
Waking up at the take-out for this section, we were glad to see that the folks who drove in in the middle of the night were kayakers. When we went to bed there was no one at camp, meaning no one for us to bum a ride with to the top. Waking up, we asked the kayakers if they would mind driving us up to the top and they obliged.
The run has a couple big wave train rapids that were class III just because of the size of the waves and the eddy lines. The rest of the run however is relatively mellow. However the scenery is superb and the run is short, so although it may not be a fun filled adventure, it is worth doing if you have a spare hour or so.
We also ran into the raft guides who we met on the Shotover a few days prior. They thanked us for the beer we gave them, and gave us some tips for our afternoon plan, the Citreon section of the Kawarau.
Finally, just as a side knowledge point, this section of river was used as the basis for the Anduin River in The Lord of the Rings. Specifically, the entry to the walled in part of the canyon.
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- First Rapid (III-). Just below put-in is the first and second biggest rapid of the run as I recall. It is straight forward, follow the V down the middle. The waves are big and it may be intimidating, but it is all good.
- The canyon walls are high and tight but there are no rapids in this section. The road bridge and then the bungy bridge pass overhead.
- Second Rapid (II+). The next rapid was the easiest and was just a wave train to run down the middle. It comes just as you exit the canyon.
- Third Rapid (III). The next rapid was after a fairly long flat section. It was just a medium size wave train with a bit of a pocket on the far left. Just stay down the center if you are in doubt.
- Biggest Rapid (III to IV-). This rapid was great fun and was for sure the biggest of the run. It starts with the biggest waves of the run, some crashing and some note. At our flow they were all great to charge through the meat of. It then mellowed for a second and then the river split around a large island as the river bent to the right. Either side of the island goes just fine. Super fun rapid!
Put-in: From Queenstown, take Highway 6a which then turns into 6 East towards Gibbston. From the junction with Highway 6, where you stay left, it is 15.6 km to the bridge over the river. Just upstream (prior to the bridge) there is a turn-out on the right. This is put-in
Take-out: Continue down river on Highway 6 for another 5.2 km from the bridge. You will pass Gibbston Winery, and then look for a left turn marked Rafting Rd (or something of that sort). Follow this road 700 m down to the water.
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