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Tarawera and Waioeka


Over the last weekend of May 2010, 15ish paddlers explored Tarawera and Waioeka with the hopes of improving their skills and general level of awesomeness. Scroll down to read the river guides, trip report from Caoilinn, and Mark's account of his run in with a rock.


Guide to Waioeka (Hell's Gate)

Wed, 2 June 2010- Ally

Class: II-III

Level: Anything above 2.0 (we did it between 2.2-2.1 on the drop)


Length: 10km

Time: 3-4 hours

Put in: Wairata Station Farmstay (Redpath Road)

Get out: Multiple options but the best is after Hell's Gate Rapid- a little under a km after Waiata/ SH2 junction.

Shuttle: It's all roadside (10km)


Starts off nice and slow with open shingle rapids. Majority of run is fun wave trains not above GII. Only 2 rapids of note that were GIII. The first is Nutcraker (quite soon after the confluence with Opato Stream) and features a small hole followed by a bigger hole on the left line. These can be avoided at flows above 2.0 by taking the right line. Can be scouted on right or on left after entrance. Can also be portaged and run multiple times. The second rapid of note is Hell's Gate and is about 100m after the Waiata Bridge and is recognized by big boulders. Can scout on right. Couple of holes and big rocks. Right line is best but left could be fun if you want an extra challenge. Has a wilderness feel despite being roadside.


Guide to Tarawera Slalom Section

Wed, 2 June 2010- Ally

Class: II-III

Level: Any


Length: about 500m

Time: 5-10 mins

Put in: Pourritt Dr

Get out: At the park

Shuttle: Walk the length of the rigby field and a bit.

Awesome GII-III roadside (well, rugby field side) section. Two rapids. Home Rapid (An island splits river in two). Take whatever line but watch out for slalom wires on the left. Bus Stop is the other rapid. Lots of clean eddies and waves.


Trip Report, by Caoilinn Hughes

 It began with a conversation. An asinine, somewhat wretch-worthy attempt at titillation which had to do whether or not you should spit or swallow watermelon pips. Or it had something to do with squeezing lemon juice into your lovers’ eyes in the hope that the satisfaction would justify the inevitable nipple twist. At the very least, it had to do whether juice and elbow grease make a good home remedy for chastity.

It didn’t bode well for the weekend. But luckily, all was forgotten by the morning amid the sexy smell of James...’ legendary French toast.

Day 1, part 1, grade 2.

Accompanied by two inappropriate balls, the happy group of 15ish bounced down the narrow, tree-lined Tarawera River. After a short time, Mark’s chin decided it was on its period and gave him a bit of a moody run, but he came out smiling; really putting the men in menstruation.



well i was kayaking down tarawera river. which is freekin awesome btw. and i screwed up on a rapid and ended up upside down. then just as i thought i had it under control i hit a rock with my chin and it dragged me clean out of my boat. also tore a chunk of flesh out of me. worked out alright in the end tho. no real damage. maybe a scar.


Epics included Caoilinn and Claude’s tête-à-tête causing Caoilinn, Keri and Jenny to miss the get out, along with Claude who was now upside down without a paddle. As Caoilinn saved the day, lugging everyone’s boats across her sturdy yet feminine shoulders and biting through the thicket with her bare teeth like Heman’s machete, the rest of the group lost faith quickly. Claude panicked: “But you are leading us into the deep forest”, to which she fearlessly responded: “Alas comrade, the road is nigh.” To which he said: “What the fuck?” To which she said: “The road’s right there.”

But the group was still hungry for more adventure... thirsty for more juice...

Day 1, part 2, grade 2/3.

Then there was the Tarawera Slalom course. Which is Yiddish for harden the fuck up. And so they did. The girls styled it; Ally flaunting her new yellow boat of banana glory; Sophie not even nearly swimming, Keri effortlessly strutting her surging bust boat skills; and Speedy masturbating masticating his mouth-full-of-banana. (Not to imply that Speedy’s a girl... just a bit of poetic license.) There was a line there somewhere.... maybe not a punch line, but at least it wasn’t just: ‘Go left’.


Honarably Mention: Jeremy (Yakka) for picking the line on Hell's Gate and executing it with style.

Dishonourably Mention: Go Left Grant for "Nope. You can't scout. Nope. Gotta go left. You come to a big hole and you just punch though it. Just go left."

Day 2, grade 2/3.

The balls were missing on Sunday. It is suspected that they had been found that morning by a random intruder who had overinflated (the) balls.

Anyway, the theme of the day was ‘go left’. The idea was to avoid ‘the nutcracker’ rapid’s jugular bits – advice taken by the only person who seemed to know the bold Waiweka River’s political inclination. Going left, however, did not result in the liberating, lesbian hippy orgy that we all hoped it would. It sadly resulted in most of us going head-first into the Nutcraker’s nuts. Some people were unfortunate enough to get their Minis stuck in its hole. It was a small hole. After ploughing through that one, there was a bigger hole to go through shortly after, so at least we knew where we stood.

A Roast!

One carload was lucky enough to enjoy Martin’s girlfriend Katala’s parents’ hospitality en route back to Auckland. Others got home a little earlier to suffer the slings and arrows of Outrageous Fortune.

All in all, we got through Hell’s Gate and beyond. The trick was to go left of the devil, give his mistress a bit of a squeeze and to paddle hard.

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