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Packrafting Rangitaiki River Aniwhenua run Grade 2

The Rangitaiki is the longest river in the Bay of Plenty. The Aniwhenua is a great beginner trip, or just a cool spot to play around with some good mates. There are quite a few surf waves and eddy lines to practice up your skills on. Many kayak clubs use this as a skills building trip for beginners and advanced alike. The bonus is that it can be done all year-round, as the source is the Aniwhenua reservoir. Words by CalebTarzwell Photos Martin Robertson.

After a 800m you will encounter the first of two big wave trains. These are either lot’s of fun or very intimidating depending on flow and your experience. Beginners might swim here, so regroup at the eddies after the rapids. You can sneak around the wave trains but that would defeat the purpose of riding the bronco.

The river continues following a beautiful Class 1 gorge featuring some fun Class II rapids which give lots of opportunity for playing. The second big wave train is about the 2.5km mark.

For most of the trip its pleasant gorgy scenery. Near the end of the trip when the road comes into view you begin to see the signs of pine plantations.

The main hazard to watch out for are possible wood. However, with the stable flow of the river, this seems less likely than in other rivers. Most groups won’t need to scout, but keep your head up.

It’s only 6km, so it would possible to do 2-3 laps if desired. There is also the possibility of carrying on another 14km in slow water to where the road crosses the river.

Despite being a practice run for many clubs, it does run through a beautiful gorge and starts at a waterfall – I can think of worse ways to spend a day!

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