Monday, December 18, 2006

Shotover River; Cascade Rapid,NZ

The Shotover river ends with a bang. After exiting the Oxenbridge tunnel, which is 170m long and took the Oxenbridge family three years to build, you have a couple of seconds before you hit the pillow off the river right wall and and shoot down through the guts of the hole at the bottom. If you get it right you don't get to wet at the bottom. Heaps of fun for the safety kayakers.

Simon Moreland and myself setting up for Cascade after going through the tunnel.

Bracing off the pillow on river right.

Setting up in the middle.

Hitting the hole at the bottom.

Coming clean on the other side. Heading for the takeout and a good cup of coffee. All in a hard days work.

Photos care of

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Waikaia River, Take 2, NZ

Rob Murphy(Ireland) stylin his boof off the first drop.

This past week has been a good one. A trip on the Landsborough and also a trip on the Waikaia river.
I met up with these boys by leaving a note on their car in Queenstown. After calling, they showed up at my house later, after a bit had a plan sussed and all was looking good for Monday. The lads headed out there Sunday night and the next morning I loaded up my gear, and left QT at 7:30ish and started the 2.5hr drive. I drove down to Lumsden, turning off to Gore and finally Waikaia. Some small car problems slowed me down a bit, but what kayaking trip doesn't have a bit of that.
Leaving my car at the take out at Piano Flats and the river at 29cms,we were looking into a fun day. The log that was blocking the road last time was cut, so with only a twenty minute walk made it to the river in good time.
We got to the first major drop fairly quickly, this is a small hole in the rocks used by the gold miners of old. After the hole you flatten out for a short bit before dropping off a sweet 4.5m boof.
After a bit of flat water the river picks up and carries you along with drop after drop some big and some small. We had a few portages, and there is a bit of new wood since the last time I was here. 2 of the portages we ran last time, one drop we ran this time and walked the time before.
Noticed a bit more of the gold mining history. Saw some old campsites and was made aware of the sluice channels and mining spots. This whole area was pretty active in the gold scene. The main areas of course being the Shotover and Arrow rivers near Queenstown. Lots of exploring was done else where. The Shotover was thought to one of the richest gold bearing rivers in the world. Mining went on there from 1862 till 1992. Cool to see the history of the place.
After making it out of the river in 5 and half hours it was back off to Queenstown and work the next day. Enjoy the photos.

The boys checking gear before the walk in, notice case of SPEIGHTS.

Heading down to the river, with hillsides of broom in the background.

Robin Scott(UK) plugging the first drop.

Hugh Thomas(UK) running the main line on Spears Falls, with Robin looking on.

Jimmy Evans(Ireland) hitting up one of the fun boofs below a portage.

Hugh on the run out of the above drop.

Robin on the 2nd boof of this sweet two boof drop, as the boys get shots from above.

Rob about to get launched.

Jimmy about to come in for a dry landing.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Landsbourogh River, NZ, 3 day trip

The view on a sunny day looking up from camp one.

Last weekend and in the past week I had the opportunity to get out on a couple three day trips on the Landsbourogh River with Queenstown Rafting. On the first trip when we first headed out there we were hoping for a clearing of the weather and on the second trip it was clear till almost the take out. The week before last the river had surged up to 6m on the gauge, which was one of the highest levels in ten years.

The Landsborough River originates from the hills of Mt. Cook National Park, before meeting with the Haast river in South Westland. We arrived on the other side of Haast to meet up with our helicopter pilot. Morgan and his dad have Heli Ventures in that area, awesome pilots. We had a couple of gear loads and clients on the first, and just one gear load on the second trip.

With beautiful landscapes and fun rapids, excellent food this is a great three day trip. Though sometimes things don't go exactly as planned. On my first trip down we spent the first and second day at camp one waiting for the river to go down, eating lots. Then paddling all the way out on a high flow on day three. The second trip was broken up by more as we spent two days on the river, though it was about a meter lower at the top and almost two meters lower in the gorge. I have included some photos of the trips. Enjoy and if you are in the area and are looking for an adventure trip on the wild New Zealand west coast check this one out.

The heli pick up point where the Haast and Landsbourogh rivers meet.

A rainy day at camp one when the first heli load arrives.

A nice sunset on the first rain filled trip. The third day was beautiful. High water and Sun.

The gang enjoying a bit of sunshine.

Did I mention the food? Tasty au d'oeuvres each evening.

Beautiful Waterfalls abound.

The camp setting.

Keeping a close eye on the fire and staying warm at night. Alarm clock.... sandflies at 6am.

On clear days snow filled peaks and glaciers are viewed up and down the valley.

On the days with rain and some sun keep eyes peeled for rainbows.

Tony at the oars through squeeze rapid, Landsbourogh River.

The rafts lined up at the bottom of Hellfire rapid. The one portage for the rafts on the river.

Safety Kayaker David Prothero paddling down through Hellfire. Photo care of Lou McInnes.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kayaking Upper 12 Mile Creek, NZ

The other week myself and Simon Moreland got out for some sweet boating missions. After getting bumped off work as the Shotover was too high we decided to go boating on it. Running at a flow of 180cms it took us around an hour to paddle 16kms with some scouting of five rapids. We then hung around to see if work was on for the afternoon, finding ourselves bumped again, I then drove out to see if 12 mile creek was running at a lower flow then the morning.
Finding it running at a great flow we arranged to meet and do the forty minute walk in to the upper set of waterfalls and drops. Arriving at the top waterfall we played rock, paper, scissors to see who would go off first. Having lost, I set up to run the first drop, as Simon set safety and was ready with his video camera. I came in a bit slowly, landing flat and stalling at the bottom of the drop. After climbing out, I set up with my camera to get some shot's of Simon running the first waterfall. Wonderful drop, around 7m, this was the lead into a short canyon with another drop around 6m and a couple of shorter ones. Below is a wood filled canyon that involved some interesting paddling and short portages. Finishing off with a grade 2-3 paddle out to the road. Keep an eye out for wood on the whole thing.

Simon Moreland lauching at the first waterfall.

In the midst of the slide drop, a bit of water, small creek.

Simon about to go deep on the second waterfall.

The final drop of the gorge.

Paddling with trees all around. Reminding me of BC.
Simon sneaking underneath the trees, 12 Mile creek.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Nevis River, Take 2, NZ

The Boys, L to R. Dawson, Paul B, Myself, Danly and Marc in Front.

Yesterday myself, Danly, Paul Button, Marc, and Dawson headed up to Ben Nevis station to hit up the formable Nevis River. With a somewhat clear day, what looked like a good water flow from the flow phone we were off, but after organizing, a couple of stops in town to get gas and pick up the boats from the rafting base at Cavells, and a stop to get food in Cromwell we made it to the put on at just after 12pm. Thus a bit of a late start, which meant that we had to get a bit of a move on. Myself and Dawson had both done the river a couple of weeks ago which was good because we could sort of remember where to go and which drops to get out and have a look at and which ones to charge down. A couple of hours in, two swims later for one of the crew and we were in the midst of the steeps. It is such a beautiful place, a complete switch from the green look of Queenstown.
The water was a bit lower than last time, probably in the 12-13cms range. Hope to hit it up in the higher teens soon. Paddling out to the bottom after the steep section, a couple of us got caught in a little sticky hole, going to remember Dawson boofing over me as I was surfing in the bottom for a while. Good times. Then we paddled down the Kawarau and ran Citroen rapid, which was running around 260cms. Such a neat switch going from low to high volume all in one trip. Enjoy the photos.

The put on bridge where we discovered the river was a bit lower than what the gauge had advertised.

With a few drops here and there the first two and a half kms is a nice warm up with mountains in the back ground.

Then it gets a bit steeper. Paul B in the midst of it.

March eyeing up one of the slots.

Danly heading down stream, with an ominous looking sky behind.

Marc coming through the bottom of the above drop.

Looking down toward the drops Little and Big Brother, the last of the Steeps.

Dawson in the middle of Triple Drop.

Paul B coming out the bottom of Triple drop.

Photos by David Prothero

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Upper Shotover River, NZ

The other week myself, Jonno, Paul and Simon drove into the Upper Shotover. With the river running at 31cms it was going to be a great day of play. With lots of shallow ledges making some sweet features, and some sticky holes. The whole run is grade 2-3. This grade goes up a bit it the river is running up above 70-80cms. There are a few lovely eddy park and play spots and the whole run is through a beautiful gorge of mica-schist and small waterfalls coming in here and there.
Around some of the corners you can see some of the remanants of the old gold mining era. They mined on the river from 1862-1992, at which point there was a fifty year ban implemented. Getting toward the end of the run, which is around 9kms long, save some energy for the last and best play hole on the river. Bring some food and drink and make an afternoon of it here, as it is a deep, wide and fluffy spot to play.
Play safe out there.

David surfing up the RAD 185.

Checking out the old Quartz stamper on the banks of the Shotover river. Gold mining history close up.

David back surfing on one of the many small waves.

Simon blitzing it up in the NZ sunshine.

One of the beautiful waterfalls on the way down the run.

Simon throwing down in the last playhole, Upper Shotover.

Jonno surfing it up in a Huck, who says you need a playboat to have fun.