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Old 10-26-2011   #11
st2eelpot's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 310
When I went down there I contacted Blisstick directly and they hooked me up with a new boat for pro-deal equivalent prices. Then one of the workers drove it across the north island for me to pick it up! Super friendly. They also have a program where if you work in the factory for 50 hours, they give you a better deal, and you get to make your own boat. At least these are the deals they had when I was there 3 years ago. Awesome people.

I forget the name of the book, as it's in the storage unit, but the guy who runs the kayak shop in Murchison (mentioned in the post above) was also involved in writing a fantastic guide book to the whole country. Kayaking New Zealand or something- rather generic title that escapes me, that is a 'best of' 100 runs for both islands. I recall his name was Mitch? Older fellow who is an amazing paddler and really cool guy.

Buy the book (if you can't find it based on my lame description PM me and I'll go look for it, plus I can dig out my old notes if you like) and it really has all the info one really needs.

While there are runs everywhere, if you're strictly there for paddling, the south island is definitely the place to go. Hokatika has tons of stuff, though a fair amount of it is stout. I agree that Murchison is a great place for class 3-4 stuff.

Lots less people in the south. More of the common touristy stuff is on the north island, though quite a bit less paddling. Plus, most of the north island stuff is rain and seasonally dependent (if I recall correctly anyway). The south island stuff is rated by: do it before the rain, do it while it's raining, or do it after it has already rained as lots of it is glacier fed and can come up (too) fast. Keep in mind, the south island west coast sees over 21 feet of rain a year (yes, feet).

Kayak heaven.

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Old 10-27-2011   #12
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 15
Again, thanks for all the beta. You all have been wonderful! st2eelpot, I sent you a pm.

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Old 10-27-2011   #13
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Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 269
The Kaituna River in Okere Falls is the place to set up base camp on the North Island. There's a lot of epicness--including a sweet ~15 ft waterfall--squeezed into its mile-long class IV slot canyon, and it ends with one of the best play holes anywhere. Sun Spots is the name of the outfitter in that area. The Kaituna is just a 20 minute drive from Rotorua, which is tourist central for the North Island. It runs all the time (dam fed), it's centrally located for most of the good boating on the island, and its usually pretty easy to find people to paddle with. Plus, the ocean is nearby for surfing by boat or board.

I also recommend the Rangitiki, which is in the central North Island pretty close to the Bliss Stick factory. Mostly III-IV with a couple Vs.

For a guide book, I recommend "New Zealand Whitewater" by Graham Charles.

I suggest spending significant time on both islands. Tons to see and do on both; they are very different in terms of culture, geography, and paddling.
"A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes writing for the majority in New Jersey v. New York
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Old 10-27-2011   #14
st2eelpot's Avatar
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The guidebook that phlyingfish just mentioned, "New Zealand Whitewater" by Graham Charles is the one I was thinking of. My mistake. Disregard what I was talking about with Mitch (he's referenced in the book, but as ph pointed out is not the author).

I'll dig through stuff over the next few days and see what emails and such I have around.


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