Waiau Uwha River Catchment

The three runs below provide a good weekend out for anyone staying up at Hanmer, nothing too hard but some great scenery.

Getting there: Head north up State Highway One from Christchurch, when you get to Waipara, turn left and head up State Highway Seven, this will take you past the get in and take outs for the Waiau, Hope and Boyle Runs.

Flows: This river is paddleable all year round, even at the height of summer. 40 to 60 cumecs on the Waiau Uwha (at Marble Point) is a reasonable flow, if the river is too high than the features tend to wash out and the river get more boily.

Run: Boyle River      Grade: 2+    Length: 3km

Put in / take out: Heading up State Highway 7, drive past Engineers Camp and a short distance later there is a rest area on the right. The put in is about 100m up the road where the river comes close to the road. The take out is at Wind Whistle Point, the turn off is to the left just before the road starts climbing, if you get to Engineers Camp, you have gone too far.
Description: This is lovely mountain river that flows through a series of three short gorges. The first section can be a little boney at lower flows.


Rapid in one of the gorges on the Boyle.

Run: Hope River / Waiau Uwha      Grade: 2       Length: 18km (3 to 4 hours)
Hope River Level

Put in / take out: Put in at the Hope Bridge on State Highway 7 if there is sufficient water in the Hope or for a shorter put in near the Waiau confluence. The river can be accessed through a gate on the right hand side of the long flat straight with the willow trees along the side. The take out is a the rest area down stream from Handyside Stream, just before the road climbs up and away from the river.
Description: This is a fairly cruisy trip that flows through three wide gorges (two if you put in at the Waiau confluence).

Run: Waiau Uwha River (Leslie Hills)      Grade: 2      Length: 14km (3 hours)
Waiau Uwha River Level at Marble Point

Put in / take out: Take the Hanmer turn off from State Highway 7, cross the bridge and drive down until the road flattens out and there is a rest area on the left hand side. Float or walk down the Hanmer River to the Waiau Uwha. The take out is either at the Lesley Hill Bridge or at a rest area about 1 km upstream from there, where there is a rest area. The Lesley Hills Bridge has a irrigation intake plus the take out eddies can be tricky for beginners so the rest area take out is probably the best option.
Description: A cruisy run down a nice wide gorge, rapids are generally an easy grade 2 with good recovery areas at the bottom. Commercial and private jet boats are common on this section, so take care.


Rapid above Shark’s Tooth.

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