River: Clarence River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 2.4 Cumecs at Jollies (NIWA). Grade 2+(3), water clear.
Weather Conditions: Sunny & warm at first, the overcast but clearing later in the afternoon. Light NE winds.
Number on Trip: 4 rafts, 4 guides & 10 clients.
Time on River: 7.25 hours.
Distance covered: 38km (185km travelled in total)
Altitude dropped: 171m (700m dropped in total)
Comments: Another sunny morning and on the river by 9:15 with Clint on the oars today for our last day of the trip. We stopped at Matai Flat for morning tea and explored the forested grove and clambered over the fallen logs that formed natural bridges over a small dry stream bed.
The landscape changed as we moved out of the forested area and into farm land as traces of civilisation began to appear, the sky also changed as clouds covered the sky for the first time on the trip. We had lunch above the Glen Alton bridge and the gear rafts were taken off the river to meet us back at the rafting companies base in Clarence. There was a group of kids & their fathers putting on the river for an overnight raft trip as a birthday treat for one of the boys. The bus managed to get stuck as it crossed the gravelly river bed with the rafts on a trailer behind it. There was a certain amount of digging and pushing (and probably some swearing too) before it managed to break free.
George Bluff was exciting but both rafts avoided being pushed into the bluff. From here down there were plenty of nice, bouncy rapids (I’ve done this section before and it makes a nice day trip). The was sediment flowing in from Wharekiri Stream, which seems to have it’s headwaters on the opposite side on the range from Fidget Stream, so its due to the geology of that particular area.
Above the State Highway 1 bridge there were a lot of “Sputniks”, nasty river protection works consisting of large cubes of cement with railway tracks protruding from each face. We all got of the rafts and the guides took them through solo, which made for some exciting pictures.
A train passed over the railway bridge just after we floated beneath it, unfortunately my camera battery had finally given up the last of it’s charge and was dead. More rapids followed as we approached the sea and the before we could be swept out of the Clarence and into the breakers of the Pacific, we pull over to the side and hauled the rafts into the estuary and paddled across Ellis and the waiting vehicles. The trip was over and we were pretty exhausted.
The rode back to the rafting base in Clarence, sorted out our gear, exchanged contact details and the Ellis took us back to Cheviot and the Tree House for a well needed shower, another delicious meal and a good rest in a nice soft bed. Thanks Ellis, Sanna, Clint, Kaca, Gus, Sam, Go Wild Productions and Clarence River Rafting for an amazing adventure,