I started packrafting the Clarence River (South Island) in early October, we were aiming to do a full source to sea trip. Ended up bailing due to cold - lots of snow and frankly it was quite miserable! Will make sure to bring dry suits or at least proper dry tops next time if it’s that early in the season. The road back to Nelson (via Lewis Pass) was closed and there was a huge amount of snow at springs junction compared to normal!
Here is an edit I put together which shows a good route option: hiking from the Rainbow River valley in Nelson Lakes National Park - Paske Saddle - very source @ Lake Tennyson and then paddling from there. Highly recommended. The full source to sea journey would be great.
I can’t wait to go back and do it If someone is keen for next year, get in touch. At the moment I have almost 2 weeks free from mid March - early April and may look at doing it then. Or perhaps something down Fiordland way.