The Wairaurahiri

Embark on a journey down New Zealand's longest waterfall.

The Wairaurahiri Expedition

The Wairaurahiri Expedition combines hiking and rafting and is a once-in-a-lifetime expedition down New Zealand’s longest waterfall.

You will embark on an adrenaline-pumping 5-day expedition filled with whitewater runs, stunning views, nature walks, bridge crossings and much more. Fully unwind from your daily life and routine, and partake on an awesome packrafting adventure.

NOTE: The Wairaurahiri Expedition is in official customer trial stages at the moment and will be open for bookings very soon. In the meantime, get in touch if you want to find out more and are keen to join.

What you need to know

  • Expedition cost: $1,500
  • Maximum 4 people per expedition departure date.
  • Great for intermediate/advanced packrafters. Ideally you should have experience on a few class-2 rivers and prior training in a packraft.
  • You receive 1-day of professional training/assessment before we start to ensure every participant has the skills and confidence needed for this expedition.
  • 3-days of adrenaline rushing adventure.
  • The trip begins and ends in Te Anau.
  • Accommodation is available before and after the expedition in our Packrafting HQ glamping tents.
  • Breakfast and dinners are provided, but you will need to organise your own lunches and snacks.
  • All paddling gear (our high-end Alpacka Packrafts, paddles, and PFD’s) is included.
  • Your backpack will weigh between 15kg and 20kg.

Sample Itinerary

After introductions in Te Anau we’ll head to our local river, The Waiau, for a day of training. We’ll practice river reading, working as a team, self-rescue, and just make sure everyone is ready for the upcoming challenge. In the afternoon, there will be a bit of time to pick up any last-minute bits of kit as well. You’ll need to sort your own meals and accommodation on day 1.

This is the business! Today we’ll make our way across the lake via jet boat to the start of the river. We’ll get suited up for whitewater and get ready for the rapids! What follows is 18 km of near-constant Grade II/II+ rapids on what is teasingly known as New Zealand’s longest waterfall. The true wilderness waterway takes us all the way to the South Coast and the fabulous Waitutu Lodge – and hot showers!

Please note: all your gear will be transported via jet boat to Waitutu Lodge, to make sure we have maximum fun and play opportunities on the river.

A 17km walk along a well-formed track through the native bush will reward us with incredible views as we cross several world-famous viaducts, including the Percy Burn Viaduct, which is believed to be the longest surviving wooden viaduct in the world! We’ll spend the night near the beach at the Port Craig hut, which used to serve as the logging town’s tiny schoolhouse back in the early 20th century, and is the only building still standing from the historic settlement.

We’ll finish our journey with either a walk or (conditions dependent) paddle from Port Craig to Rarakau and our vehicle. Tide and seas depending, we’ll have the option of several shortcuts along the way, and if paddling, may even be joined by the local pod of dolphins. Whatever our mode of transportation, the views across the vast and endless Southern Ocean are a fitting way to bring the adventure to a conclusion.

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)
  • And whatever else you normally taking on outdoor adventures (sunglasses, bug spray, sunblock etc)
  • Oh and also a great sense of adventure (and humour!)
  • NOTE: A full gear list will be supplied once you booked your trip.

Gear we supply

  • Backup Tents (in case we aren’t able to stay in a hut)
  • Sleeping mat (will be supplied by Packrafting NZ)
  • Stoves and gas
  • Tarps/emergency shelter

Other things to bear in mind

  • Never Packrafted before? Try our Hollyford/Pyke Expedition
  • New for the Season 2021/2022, the option to stay in our Packrafting NZ Eco Glamping Village is available – glamping styled tenting, shared facilities and epic views. Accommodation is available the night(s) before and after the expedition. Please contact us to discuss further details.
  • Transport to and from Te Anau before and after the expedition is not included.
  • We recommend you allow an extra day after the trip, for unplanned delays as we go.
  • Lunches, snacks and tea and coffee is not included.
  • If you need to purchase extra gear once you have booked your spot, you will get some awesome deals on gear from our online store Light and Fast. Paddling your very own Alpacka Gnarwahl down the river!?

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.