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Toaroha River

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

ahhh... the West Coast, a region that measures its annual rainfall in meters. With all that water comes a lot of pretty spectacular rivers, and lucky for us those rivers become playgrounds for us students studying at TPP.

Flowing out of the Alps, the Toaroha is a beautiful grade three run located just south, and inland of Hokitika, its know as a typical West Coast run and has been popular with local coast boaters for a while.

The Toaroha is a relatively low volume river and is filled with rocks and boulders making it quite technical. The day we ran it, it was at a low flow, so things were getting pretty bumpy! The run starts with a 45minute walk to get to the put in, so we rigged up carry systems made of climbing slings and old pool noodles and hauled our boats up the track. The track was an old mining road so it was pretty wide and easy going. After waging a war against sandfies we got suited up and put our boats in above the first rapid.

In total there was 8 of us paddling, a rather large group. It consisted of Ed, Mitch B, Zeb, Jasper, Corina, Sophie, Ruby, myself. I was in the first bunch to go down the top rapid, and turned around just in time to watch Corina flip and scrape down the rapid upside down.

Corina ended up swimming, luckily there was a little pool after the rapid so we were able to rescue her easily. She was pretty shaken up. There was a bit of blood coming from a cut on the brigde of her nose, and she took a few nocks to the head which quickly turned to a huge lump on her forehead. We took a wee breather and got on with the rest of the run. Accidents like this often take a lot of confidence out of people, especially on the first rapid of the day.

We continued on our run, flowing through some great boulder gardens and a bunch of of rapids until be we got to the final rapid. This rapid was much bigger than the rest, it was very long and had multiple holes. The last feature of the rapid was a big pour-over that had even the best of our group feeling nervous. We spent a while scouting lines and then played a game of 21 to find out who would be the guinea pig. The girls were a bit freaked out, and Corina was still pretty shaken, so they decided to portage it and set safety in the eddy at the bottom. One by one we sent the rapid. I was second to go down and aced my line. I smashed through the top hole and set up perfectly for the second. boof!, I smashed through that one too and got pushed towards the pour over. The horizon line dropped away and it looked like I was about to paddle of a cliff, I flew down the pour over and popped up at the bottom with a roaring cheer. WOOHOO!

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