Recently returned to AK from NZ. We found the packrafts again to be well worth the luggage weight. We used them for a couple classic salt water cruises between beaches on the North Island in the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel areas. Also ran the Karangahake gorge on the Ohinemuri river. It is really a classic whitewater run, as described in the New Zealand whitewater book, although short. It’s an easy 1+ km road run with a perfect hiking path right next to the river which allows a leisurely hike and scout of the gorge before the run. We ran the first time on Oct. 10 at 12.4 m or 18.1 cms (640 cfs) only skipping the first major drop (bony at that flow with a little wood). The second run 3 days later was at 12.18m or 10 cms. We found the flows to be adequate for packrafts, fairly forgiving and not pushy. I wouldn’t try it lower than our second run but higher water would be fun and exciting. If you are in the area you should stop by for a quick run. It’s too short for a real mission but makes sense if you’re headed south for other whitewater runs. Check out the video. Of note: the guy in the black wet suit and blue boat had never been in a packraft before and is not a kayaker. Kiwis will try anything!
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