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Old 12-03-2007   #1
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2
New Zealand Feb-Mar 07!

Its a done deal... I'm goin' down unda for 8 weeks! I'll be in Brisbane Feb 7-15 and then flying into Christchurch. I'll be roaming around NZ until ~Mar 20, when I fly to Sydney for a while then a train trek back to Brisbane. I've read pages and pages of good advice from forums and posts here and am planning on starting off in Murchison and NZ Kayak School after lining up a car/campervan in Christchurch. Even though I can probably sell my ZG54 for mega bucks in NZ, getting it from Montucky to NZ sounds like too much of a pain to me. So... bringing all gear except a boat and will buy/rent one down yonder... will probably try to sell my skirt and paddle and crap down there if it's true that I can make some $$$ off them. Anywho... a couple questions:

Just a shot in the dark, but is anyone going to be in NZ any time Feb or March 08?

If I get lucky and score a temp job as a safety boater or raft guide or picking fruit or something, do I REALLY have to have a working holiday visa? Do under the table temp jobs exist? Any advice on how to finagle them if so?

I'll have ~6 weeks in NZ. With that time, I should definitely venture up north right? Any suggestions on what to see/do while on the north island?

Anyone have a copy Graham Charles' guide book they would be willing to sell/borrow me? I can't find it online in the states for less than $75.

Think that is all for now... thanks in advance for any boater and traveler beta...


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Old 12-04-2007   #2
no tengo
mania's Avatar
Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
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Posts: 1,768
I think you can order that book from amazon UK for less than that even with shipping. worth a shot.

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Old 12-04-2007   #3
Mad Scientist/Creeker
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Seth - you are stoked! NZ is the business. If you do get lucky and find a job once you're there, a work visa is not usually an issue. The good news is you can get one (a visa) while you're there if someone wants to hire you. The bad news is for a short 6 week stay at the end of summer it will be hard to find a paddling related job. Picking fruit is your best option and pay is usually under the table, or more likely in trade for room and board.

Here is the publishers website and you can order it from them. I would just buy it when you get down there though. I'm sure they have it in Murchison.
New Zealand Whitewater 4th edition -

I would forget about the "big $$$" you can get for your gear. Use it, enjoy the beautiful country and epic whitewater and if you don't want to bring it home unload it on a kiwi less fortunate than you for fair market value. You already sound a little pompous and if there is one thing any good kiwi can smell from a mile away it's a pompous American... so drop the attitude, go over there ready to be humbled and enjoy it, because 6 weeks is nowhere near long enough to leave you satisfied. You'll want to go back the moment you leave. Good luck.
Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 12-04-2007   #4
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Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 269
Like Evan said, six weeks is nowhere near enough time to do all the paddling that you'll want to do. So the question is: what kind of paddling do you want to do. Are you looking for gnarly V's in the middle of nowhere, III-IV river running in a gorgeous setting, playboating, park and huck, or self support? The good news is that you can do all of those things in the area between Murchison and Hokitika. My advice would be to start there, it's pretty much every kayaker's vision of heaven. Also, you must spend at least one night getting plastered at the Mahinapua Pub even if you don't set foot in another bar for the rest of your stay.

The North Island has a lot of great paddling, but it is more spread out than on the South Island. The Kaituna, Rangitieki (not to be confused with the Rangitaiki), and Wairoa are all classic runs, but they are at least a day's travelling from the ferry in Wellington. I'd make sure that they have water on the North Island before making the trip. If they do have water plan on a solid week and a half just to cover the three runs mentioned above. If I could only paddle one river for the rest of my life it would be the Kaituna, and the run is only a mile long.

Regarding your gear and your big pay day, forget about it. This isn't Africa. The locals aren't hurting for excellent domesticly produced paddling gear. Oh yeah, and brush up on your social skills if you really want to paddle the goods (i.e. take a helicopter ride). There's a new crop of foreigner's in New Zealand every year. And every year there's a new crop of fables about the cheeky American/Brit/Canadian/German that went under a rock. Be safe, and prepare to be blown away.

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Old 12-05-2007   #5
Matt J's Avatar
Leadvillian, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 381
check online

if you do decide to go up north I would suggest you try doing a little research at a computer first... NZ has a MountainBuzz like forum, it's not quite as popular as the Buzz but it has some good info about scheduled releases etc. I don't know the addy, but someone will or a search will do it I'm sure

check the level for the Rangitieki on Bliss-Stick's page... will require rain and then go on a weekend the Wairoa is releasing. That way you can hit all three (the Kaituna releases everyday)

I was there for 8 months and my advice would be call, research, check the web, etc. before you drive... you can burn up a lot of gas driving to the West Coast only to get shut down, back up North, down to Christchurch, etc.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 12-05-2007   #6
Father of illegitimate San Juan sasquatch children, Climax. CO
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 211
I lived in christchurch for six months. I hiked the hokitika area (class V) and then joined a paddling club cause that was the only locals I could find that knew what the water was actually doing in late summer on the south island. You are going to be a little limited as to what you paddle. Most stuff will be low but runnable. Queenstown area is got some good heli stuff.
Try not to plan certain rivers ahead of time. Kiwis go with whatever is running and usually don't have an agenda. Heli pilots are great sources for levels. Back in 2004 it was $40 US a flight.
Buy a surfboard. I got my ass kicked everyday in the lineup when no creeks were running. Watching guys go out in an 18 meter swell was some of the sickest stuff I have ever seen.
Also, it might just take you six weeks to actually begin to understand kiwi "English". Its not bad, just really sounds different.
They are great people, Have fun.
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Old 12-05-2007   #7
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Boulder, Jackson Kayak, Colorado
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Floaty... Any chance I could get an idea from you where to get a hotel for a night in Christchurch? My wife and I leave Friday and land Sunday (love that!). We don't pick up our campervan (wickedcampers) until Monday and we have no idea of where to get a chill hotel that offers some good nightlife, cool part of town...

We are there to paddle, and are doing a full run around the island over 3 weeks. Should be sick. As mentioned, we have no agenda, just landing, and looking for water. Stoked
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. But rather...To skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... WOW !!!! What a ride!!!!!!"
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Old 12-05-2007   #8
Father of illegitimate San Juan sasquatch children, Climax. CO
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 211
Hey Craw,
I lived on the beach in Sumner. This is on the south edge of christchurch. There is one hostel and one nice B&B there. Both would be fine. I forgot the names. It is a really lowkey beach community. Very local scene, but friendly. Hope you like cricket on the tele!
Other than that, there are lots of places downtown. Find a place that is near the cathedral. Lots of really good indian or japanese/sushi restaurants in that area. In the city about 40-50% of the population is asian or indian. There are clubs everywhere. One bar, I blacked-out the name, is the Irish stopover bar for all the people going to work on the south pole. Really cool place. Anyone could tell you where it is.
Have fun, get to hokitika and murcheson and queenstown. Wanaka (town) outside of queenstown is one of the coolest places you can go.
Also, spend a night on the way to hokitika from ChristC at authurs pass. Sick
Lucky bastards, I'm jealous, Johnny
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Old 12-06-2007   #9
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Denver, Colorado
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It was alluded to a little bit above, but you're going to have to work a bit if you want to get invited along for any of the heli-accessed rivers near Hoki. As you can probably imagine, they're secluded, demanding runs, and you're going to want to go in with a group that you know, and who knows you. You may need to spend some time building up trust and goodwill on lesser runs. It's a different experience from the Green or OBJ, where you have a demanding run with people doing laps, etc. That said, the kiwis are a pretty accepting bunch as long as you stay humble and can boat.

I studied and paddled for 6 mo. in NZ and loved it.
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Old 12-06-2007   #10
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2
Oooh I definitely did not intend to come off as sounding pompous and greedy. I'll just go with the flow down there and if I decide to sell my stuff, I'll sell it for whatever I can get, especially if it helps out a new kiwi paddling friend or someone else in need....

And that is good advice about establishing relationships with other paddlers and easing into the scene. Thanks for all the advice!

Authurs Pass, Mahinapua Pub, helicopters, secluded V, Wanaka, fruit picking, surfing... I can't wait!

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