Maruia River (Maruia Falls)
|Flows:||~1,000 to ~?,000 cfs? Visual only.|
|Gradient:||~25 ft tall|
|Shuttle:||Walk 100 yards above, and up 100 yards from the bottom|
|Featured in A Wet State #123|
New Zealand 2016/2017 Day 11 Afternoon:
Maruia Falls probably needs no introduction. It is one of the first things I learned of in New Zealand back when I started paddling. This was only reinforced by photos that my friend David Maurier brought back after his trip over there many years ago, along with of course Rush Sturges video some years later of him developing the "Hail Mary" which was a flat water front loop over the falls... next level to say the least.
A few days prior when I passed through I stopped to look at the falls at dusk, and left them without paddling, consciously saving it for once Diane was with me a few days later. What I took note of though was that the water was much higher than I had seen it in any pics previously. A few days later my German friends sent a note that "don't overboof... nursing my back" with a pick of a huge boof at similar flow. Of course this was contrary to what other people had said about a super soft landing at high flows. Maybe Hannes' pain was due to landing tail first off his huge boof, so I made a note to land at least a little nose down if I choose to boof.
This falls was the main reason for heading north for the day. 2.5 hours drive each way from Hokitika was made rational by getting on the Glenroy and the Lower Matakitaki earlier in the day which made the driving seem more worth it than just for a park and huck. Earlier in the day we had run into some friends of mine at the Glenroy and they mentioned they were going there earlier in the afternoon to hang out, so I knew there would be other boaters there when we arrived. It was great to hang out briefly with my friends again and enjoy their collective stoke and company as we took in the falls.
We only ran it once both as we were on a timeline to return and prepare for the Arahua the next day, and because at the end of the day it is still a falls and we still had half of our trip left and wanted to stay healthy. Some people call the falls 30 feet... but perhaps the higher water filled the pool some. Diane and I both estimated it closer to 22 feet. Though perhaps also the higher water ramped the lip more and thus reduced some of the height. Whatever it may be, it wasn't as tall as Pit Falls which I use to gauge my 30 footers against.
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- Mauria Falls (IV+). Some people call this classic New Zealand Park and huck a class II because it is really straight forward. However 1) you need a roll at the base 2) you need to not roll on the lead-in and 3) overboofing can hurt. So I am going with my instinct which says to call it IV+ albeit it is a very straight forward drop. We had had high water which actually makes lining up the falls much harder as there was water going over the entire falls, no rocks sticking up. Luckily for us there was a tree just off the left side of our line allowing us to line up the drop down the middle easily. At lower flows there are separate channels and it again is easier to line up. At low flows you can see there are three small channels separated by small ridges of rock, the line is down the middle of the center one. Note to take car when scouting as I heard a story of one person who slipped in and got wedged in a small channel of rock. Scary situation that barely avoided disaster so I heard.
Access: Head west out of Murchison on Highway 6 and follow it for 11 km before turning south on Highway 65. Continue on Highway 65 for 10.6 kms before you will see signs for the Maruia Falls. Turn into the parking lot. A trail goes up the river and descends down to the water just 100 yards above the lip. A much large trail descends downriver to the base of the falls.
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