New Zealand River Map
New Zealand has some pretty amazing rivers to paddle. Many rivers have been sought out by international kayakers and whitewater rafters. The New Zealand Whitewater Guide Book by Graham Charles is the Bible for boaters looking for the more technical whitewater throughout the country on both North and South islands.
As a river paddle boarder, I use guide books and rafting outfitter websites to gauge where I can paddle. Before travelling to NZ and finding Graham's book, I hadn't gotten much information online about where I could whitewater SUP Class II/III rivers. There isn't much of a river SUP scene now, but I am hopeful the sport will grow there.
Fortunately, Andy Fuller from Day2 Kayak Equipment was a huge help with beta, and was very hospitable while in country showing us around different rivers in the Rotorua area and housing us. Thanks again, Andy!!
This NZ specific map can be used as a river SUP primer for New Zealand, a starting place. It's a resource I could have used prior to my trip and am happy to share here. (There is a legend describing what the different colored stars mean, green, yellow, red, blue....) For detailed information about put-in/take-outs, etc feel free to contact me directly.
There are multi-day opportunities like on the Whanganui. and some whitewater parks and man-made waves like the Hawea Wave near Wanaka. And there are boating communities like the one in Okere Falls where a paddler can get a good finger on the pulse about the Kiwi river culture. (Check out this video CAR PARK OF DREAMS to see what the Okere scene is like.)
Some of my MUST paddle rivers on a board?
The Buller. Fun ClassII-III+
The Kawarau, especially the Dog Leg run and Roaring Meg for the scenery and high quality ClassIII.
Whanganui for a scenic multi-day through north island bush and gorge country.
Rangitata for some quality ClassII with the ClassIV gorge option.
The Kaituna at Okere Falls for a good SUP thrashing over large drops in a tight canyon. You have to represent when at Okere!
Vector Wero Whitewater Park in Auckland is a new facility with conveyor belt access to two different whitewater channels. It's a completely man-made park. Though WW SUP is not officially allowed yet, I was invited to paddle. Check out the vid here.
I am generating a master river map of places I have paddled and rivers that potentially can be paddled on boards throughout the world, including NZ. Go to this map for updates. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to contribute river SUP locations.
And follow by Blog @suppaul.com for other posts from NZ and beyond.
Paul Clark SUPPAUL is the "Duffle Bag Paddle Boarder." Athlete, brand ambassador, photographer documenting adventure paddle boarding. Whitewater SUP, river paddle boarding, and adventure travel, based in Bend, OR