The Manapouri

Embark on a 3-day expedition to one of Fiordland’s hidden gems.

The Manapouri Expedition

The Manapouri Expedition can be guided or self-guided and will give you a first-hand taste of the packrafting world.

The 3-day trip is a one-way journey from Te Anau to Manapouri and offers a great mix of both river and lake paddling. Before you embark on the journey, we’ll give you some professional training to make sure you are comfortable and confident in and on the water.

After that, you’ll cruise down the very scenic Waiau River into Lake Manapouri, paddling your way across the lake, exploring stunning beaches and isthmuses. Each night, you’ll stay either in classic kiwi huts or make camp on pristine, secluded sandy beaches.

NOTE: This product has a flexible and personal start date for your convenience and to pick the best possible weather. Please contact us before making a booking so we can make sure everything is good from our end.

What you need to know

  • Expedition cost: $350. Self-guided option
  • Maximum 4 people per expedition departure date. You get to choose your departure date.
  • Perfect for beginners and/or confident packrafters, as this trip can be guided an instructor with you throughout) or self-guided. Your choice.
  • Either way, we’ll give you professional training before you start to ensure you are comfortable and confident in the boats and on the water.
  • 3-days of solitude down the Waiau River & Lake Manapouri.
  • The trip begins and ends in Te Anau – 1/2 day of training + 3 days in the wilderness.
  • Transport to and from the trip is included, however, transport to and from Te Anau before and after the expedition is not included.
  • All paddling gear (high-end Alpacka rafts, paddles and PFD’s, paddles) are included.
  • The sample itinerary really is just an example – as long as you stay in the designated area you can do “almost whatever” you like 😉

Sample Itinerary

After coffee in town we’ll head to the start of the Waiau River, a few short minutes from Te Anau. We’ll spend the morning learning about the boats and doing some training in the calmer upper sections of the Waiau, to make sure everyone is comfortable in the packrafts. Once everybody is happy we release you into the wild and onto the river. You run several easy but fun rapids on your way to the secluded shallow bay where you either camp or stay in the quaint hut of the same name. Beach-combing, bonfires, and swimming are all evening possibilities!

Across the lake! A mix of walking and paddling today as you make your way from one side of the lake to the other, exploring islands and isthmuses and white sandy beaches as you go. You’ll get a good chance to see what the boats are all about today as you’ll be utilising them fully, with several transitions between water and land. The goal by the afternoon is the Monument, an iconic pinnacle thrusting up out of the lake. For those keen, enough (and without a fear of heights) take a trip to the top to marvel in the view, before finishing the day with a short paddle to Hope Arm and another hut or beach campsite.

Day three could involve a gorgeous forest walk along classic kiwi trails back towards Manapouri where you’ll pull out the packrafts one more time for a final crossing of the river or lake. And then it’s back to civilization. Or if the weather cooperates you can paddle back to Manapouri the way you came.

What will I need to bring?

  • Walking and hiking clothing (for all seasons)
  • Camping and overnight clothing (for all seasons)
  • Personal kit (incl. backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, head torch, water bottle etc)
  • Camping gear (incl. a tent, cooking gear, cups/cutlery etc)
  • And whatever else you normally taking on outdoor adventures (sunglasses, bug spray, sunblock etc)

Gear we supply


  • New for the Season 2023/2024, accommodation could be in our Packrafting NZ Eco Village – basic, glamping-styled tenting, shared facilities, and epic views. Available the night(s) before and after your expedition. You can choose the option to stay with us when booking. 

Ready to book?

Keen to embark on this wilderness adventure? Read all the expedition info and keen to book yourself (and your mates) in? Book below.