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 Monday, 05 December 2005
Kaituna River - Awesome Gorge Section

It's funny how you really only start to vlue something if you might lose it. So it is with the Awesome Gorge section of the Kaituna River. OP Energy want to build YATLHS (Yet Another Tiny Little Hydro Scheme) on it. It's not in the guide book and from experience the first place people are going to look for some indiction that it's actually run is in Google. So.It is run. Herewith my section notes in the style of Graham Charles' great New Zealand Whitewater book.

Class: III
Level: As per the Okere Falls section
Gauge: Gates on Lake Rotoiti outflow
Length: About 2km
Gradient: Not Sure
Time: 25mins
Put In: Continue on from Kaituna Play Hole or Putn below Trout Pool Falls
Take Out: Sharp Left Hand Bend. Orange Spray Paint on River Right. Take out River Right. DO NOT MISS THIS TAKE OUT!
Shuttle: Walk back over farm tracks- see hot tip.
Character: A bit oike what would happen if they trippled the flow, halved the width and added 100m high gorge walls to a theme park water ride. A mixture of meandering bends and continuous roller coaste ride class III whitewater. Awesome Scenery and character- hence the name.
Hot Tip: Take a seak kayak ortage trolley to wheel your boats back along the portage.

The Aweome Gorge section of the Kaituna  is one of the most unique pieces of whitewater that I've paddled in New Zealand. It is wilderness paddling little more than 30 minutes from Rotorua. It is like a rollercoaster ride through lush native bush and a deep and narrow gorge. It's not difficult wite water, but, gie that Gnarly Gorge (a place you really don't want to go) is just around the corner from the take out you DO NOT wnt to go swimming in Awesome Gorge.

It starts out from the Trout Pool falls as a meandering arm stram and then slowly picks up pace through a few class one riffle rapids. Then the river backs off again before slowly pickng up pace as the gorge begins to narrow. The gorge narrows, the corners becme tighter and everything starts to push along and then suddenly the gorge tightens righ up and you're into a section of about 300m of continuous Class III white water. There are no real eddies to speak of and it's a great place to take paddling tourists without giving them too mch background. By the bottom their eyes are just wide open.

Once you exit the fast paced section you will roud a couple of corners before the rar of Awesome Gorge falls beckons. This is a drop of about 3 meter that is very similar in nature to the top drop of the Powerhouse rapid. Run it just off river left with a big boof.

A couple more corners and you are at the take out. Look for the bright orange paint. You do not want to miss this take ou.

Adventure Sports|Monday, 05 December 2005 20:41:32 UTC|Comments [2]|