The cold, crushing, swirling and churning river is the Tongariro river. It's an event more for the adrenaline seekers of intermediate/seconder paddlers than the scenic gazers, sure there are definitely spots for scenic gazing, as Tongariro is a very scenic place, but most of the time you'll be too busy dodging rocks.
Kayaking at Tongariro is only suitable for solid grade 3 paddlers. It's long, intense, and cold. Not the ideal river for paddlers just starting to get confident on easy grade 3's. However, for paddlers that are looking good on grade 3 that have plenty of warm gear, it is absolutely awesome! There are more than 60 solid grade 3 rapids on Saturday access 10 plus some excellent paddling on Sunday access 13. For grade 4 paddlers, there is the wonderful and exciting access 14 on Sunday.
Testimony by Bronwyn T
'Tongariro, an amazing run as always'
Cold and clear it started. Half the team was late as usual, only one raft as the rest were at Rafting Nationals.
Finally we put on, heading off down the first rapid (Access 10) the first swim (for our club) belonged to Lewis and Kristina in the ducky (Lewis!!!). As usual the raft rescued a few people and gave assistance to another club transporting out a cold kayaker who had one too many swims. A rapid, then another rapid. A very cold roll, and then more rapids. A brief moment of concern as Simon’s raft was stuck in a tree. Through amazing scenery to have more rapids. Grade 3 all day.
To do it again or hot pools? This was the question at the end of run. Jess Shailer headed off for another run. Chris and Allan said no and joined the rest at the hot pools. After a long soak, Jess turned up (with the keys to the lovely house belonging to her parents we were staying in). Dinner and cake. It was Simon Jenkin’s birthday after all. Laughter and stories in the warmth (thanks Jess for letting us stay).
Sunday morning, access 14. Bigger but just as cold! One raft and kayakers. Jacqui with her first run down access 14, great run! I opted out and rafted access 14. After a moment of concern when we lost a few rafters into the water and a paddle, all was rescued and, once again, there was a tree.
A quick trip to the end to find the get out is even worse than normal (don’t miss it, you don’t want to run Tree Trunk Gorge). I then headed off down Access 13 with VUCC (thanks!). A spectacular run I have never done before. Bottom of Tree Trunk is another world. Grade 3 to the Gates of Hercules. Limbo under the logs blocking the Gates before a quick paddle to the end. A relatively easier walk out than I expected (I had only heard terrible things).
A great weekend. Can’t wait for the September flow.
- Bronwyn Turner