Multi-day wilderness journey
We begin our journey in the heart of the historic Molesworth Station, at the confluence of the Clarence/Waiau-Toa and Acheron Rivers. Downstream of this point vehicle access is extremely limited. Everything we need is carried with us, and our river starts its long push to the sea, taking us along for the journey.
We travel from deep inland, tucked between the St James and Hanmer ranges and head North/East en route to the pacific ocean. We at 700m above sea level and travel some 190km right to the river mouth. Leave your cell phone behind and forget about work while you experience this remote valley; we have days to unwind. Along the way explore the open tussock lands of Molesworth Station, three spectacular gorges of twisted rock strata interspersed with unique and open braided river sections. The highest mountains North of Aoraki/Mt Cook cast shadows around us, including the peak of Tapuae-O-Uenuku (the Watcher). Drift through remote high country stations, amazing geology and the conservation park Ka Whata Tu O Rakihouia (Clarence reserve) with its re-establishing bush and ancient great stands of podocarp forest.
Each evening, we set up camp beside the river. Every campsite has a different unique character. Enjoy the company and knowledge of our guides, who guide by day, but also display their cooking skills around the campfire as the sun sets over distant hills.
We can’t tell you what we will be preparing as it’s different every trip. We want our food to be remembered as one of the highlights of our trips, and wherever possible we use seasonal local foods, from the gardens and farms of local producers. The cuisine that Marlborough and the Kaikōura Coast are known for; our wine, and our seafood, we want this to be part of the trip. From fresh roast local coffee to green lip mussels and Marlborough whites, food is our thing.
This is your river, this is our home. Let us show you what Aotearoa is made of.
What time of year to go?
Each season offers a different mood of this river valley. We are not able to control the weather, and don’t want to. So pick a time that suits your style, jump on and enjoy the wilderness.
- In Spring the river is usually higher making your on-river day very relaxed. The birds are nesting and the snow-capped mountains are spectacular.
- In Summertime the river is generally lower and therefore the water is warmer, which is great for swimming. This is the season to see the special plants of this valley in flower.
- In Autumn the weather is cooling down as does the temperature of the water. The weather is usually clear and calm and the colours are stunning.
Who is this trip suitable for?
This journey is suitable for any active person of moderate fitness. Minimum age is 5, maximum age is 103.
- This is a very popular family activity – there is something every age group will enjoy.
- If you have done lots of tramping or climbing and love being outdoors and still want to get out and enjoy our magnificent country but don’t want to carry a pack then this could be the trip for you. Give multi-day rafting a go.
- Tramping clubs to book clubs, we get groups from communities all over New Zealand and beyond.
- A fantastic way to celebrate a big day. 50th birthdays, wedding anniversaries or friend group catch ups, a stunning memory of a special time.
- Ticked off the Otago Rail Trail, or paddled the Whanganui and are trying to find another fun active holiday? Then come and raft the Waiau-Toa/Clarence with us.
- If you have an interest in botany of the unique South Marlborough area, geology, birds or photography, this river journey has a lot to offer.
- Kayakers who have always wanted to run this river, and have some friends who are not kayakers but would like to come along, they can travel by raft.
- Feel like that adventure with campfires and wilderness but also like wine glasses, hors d’oeurve’s and amazing wild New Zealand cuisine? We push our meals to be a lasting memory of our trips, come and see for yourself.
If you put your own group together, you can choose the date and we’ll book it in (dates do fill in, so get in early)