Come rafting with us and experience this special valley!
- 5, 6 or 7 day wilderness river adventures, fully catered, all equipment supplied, professionally guided trips for group bookings. As seen on the Rivers TV series. Discover more.
- 2 or 3 day trips – fly in by helicopter and raft out to the coast or 4WD in through Bluff Station with an optional side-trip up Mead Stream to see the K-T boundary and then raft out. Discover more.
- Shorter trips on the Lower Clarence – Half-day rafting is a perfect introduction to the fun activity of rafting, or stretch out your experience and camp overnight beside the river. Discover more.
- Outfitting / raft and equipment rentals. Discover more.
- Training days to assess or upgrade your skills in a raft and on the river. Discover more.
- Logistics orth. Discover more.
The Clarence / Waiau Toa River
The Clarence / Waiau Toa is one of New Zealand’s longest (225 km) and least known rivers. The river’s source is above Lake Tennyson on the eastern slopes of the Spenser Mountains in the St James Conservation Area.
On most of its journey to the sea the Clarence / Waiau Toa flows north east following the Clarence fault, between the Inland and Seaward Kaikoura Ranges. The river continues in this north-easterly direction until cutting through the northern end of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains and then turning south before flowing into the Pacific Ocean near the settlement of Clarence, 40 km north of Kaikoura.
The Inland and Seaward Kaikoura Ranges contain some of the highest mountains in New Zealand – several of these peaks are over 2800 metres. This isolated valley has a very high concentration of endemic species. The geology of the Clarence Valley is laid out like a storybook, covering many millennia of tectonic movement. The most comfortable way to see this rugged valley is to travel by raft.
The vegetation is a mosaic of tussock grasslands, shrublands, forest, scree fields and bare rock. The unique climate of this valley means that a number of plant species are at their northern or southern limits. Numerous plants endemic to the South Marlborough region are found here, including the rare pink tree broom, New Zealand lilac and Marlborough rock daisy. The many bluffs, which are easily viewed from the river, are goat-proof havens for plants, some of which live only on the limestone outcrops.