Paddle Wanaka

021 926 949

021 926 949 Email Menu

Phone Email Menu

Kayak The Mighty Clutha

Want to test your kayaking skills on some white water rapids? Time for you to Kayak the Mighty Clutha! A “Must do” activity here in Wanaka!

Come and kayak New Zealands second largest river, the Clutha River!

Spend your afternoon on this half day white water river kayaking adventure paddling your own kayak down the swiftly flowing crystal clear water of the Clutha River. Starting off at a gentle gradient, the excitement builds the further down the river you go, until you are splashing and laughing your way through grade 1-2 rapids. Remember what they say: “If you don’t tip out, you’re not trying hard enough!”

The fun unfolds as the river twists and turns, through playful rapids of the Upper Clutha. Your guide will give you instructions on river safety and technique, as well as tips on river reading and directions on where to find the action and best play spots. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon be cruising down the river in style. A great river cruise and adventure trip. Be prepared to get a little wet and have a giggle.

**Weight restriction 110kgs – please contact us with any enquiries**

If the rapids are not for you, you may like our Tiki Tour. Kayaking on Lake Wanaka.

· Half-day of kayaking on a grade 1-2 section of river
· Includes drinks and our famous brownie!
· Learn how to navigate down rapids and maybe have a couple swims?!
· Operates in most weather conditions
· A little kayaking experience is helpful (once or twice is fine!), or some reasonable fitness and a sense of adventure!
Departs:2:00 PM
Allow: 4 hours
Bring: Sunscreen, swimwear for under your wetsuit, a towel, thermals if needed.
Includes: Kayaking & light refreshments. Wetsuit and all safety equipment. Pickup from the Wanaka I-site or your Wanaka accommodation.
Kayak the Mighty Clutha starts with you meeting one of your guides, either at the Wanaka I-site or right at your accommodation door. From there, it’s a quick drive down to the river, which is the start point for your sweet river adventure! Right away, you’ll get your safety gear on, get a kayaking skills lesson, and get on the water! Your guide is a pro, so they will give you lots of information about how to travel down the river safely and effectively. On the way, they will give you lots of options on where to go to find the right level of challenge for you. It’s a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure, you can either take the gentle “cruisy line” down the rapids, or push yourself to play in some sweet waves and more technical water features. Be prepared to get very wet: nearly everyone goes for a swim, sometimes even intentionally! Of course, to keep your energy up there will be a stop for a picnic with light beverages and our famous brownies! After 22 kilometres and a couple of fun hours splashing down the rapids you will arrive at the take out and meet your transport. You’ll get changed while boats get loaded back on to the trailer, then hop in the van for a ride back to Wanaka where you were picked up.
Adult: $199
Child: $149
Family 2 adults + 2 children $639
NOTE: Your child must be able to swim, be very confident in water and have a good fitness level. We can offer inflatable kayaks for adults and children to share. Please email if you have any questions
Cancellation: Customers may cancel or rebook without penalty up to 24 hours prior to trip departure. Cancellations or no-shows after this time will be charged full price.

What do I wear?

Make sure you’ve got swimwear, or something else you can wear under a wetsuit that is not cotton. You can bring a thermal layer as well if you are worried about being cold. We will provide wetsuits, booties, lifejackets and helmets for all participants.

What should I bring?

You should bring your swimwear, a towel, sunscreen and a water bottle. Cameras are great too, but be aware that they will get wet and could potentially be lost. You can purchase a set of photos that your guide can take, just be sure to confirm this with them before you get on the water so that they can get lots of sweet action shots for you!

Do I need to be experienced?

This is a great trip for those who have kayaked a couple of times before, or if you are pretty fit and enthusiastic. This is not a good trip for those who have never kayaked before and are potentially nervous about it. The Tiki Tour is a great option instead for anyone who wants to try kayaking for the first time! Kayak the Mighty Clutha is best for people over 13 years of age. Please contact us if you are hoping to book a tour with a child.

How long does it take?

You should allow about 4 hours from the time you are picked up to the time you will be dropped off. This includes 15 minutes of transport by van each way, time getting changed and learning about the river, and about 2.5 hours of paddling on the river.

Can I do this trip in the morning?

We’ve designed this trip for the afternoon to give the day a chance to warm up. We provide wetsuits and warm gear, but the afternoons tend to be slightly kinder to the hands. Please get in contact if you’d prefer a morning trip as we may be able to create a trip for you.

Do I need to be able to swim?

On this trip you are much more likely to fall in, so being able to swim will make you much more comfortable. Non-swimmers will likely enjoy the Tiki Tour more as an alternative trip.

Can we have a private tour?

Yes! If you would like a private tour, please contact us by phone or email for prices and to book.

Will I fall in?

The short answer: probably! Taking a “swim” is all part of the fun! Your guide will teach you how to self-rescue before you get on the water, and will be nearby if you do tip out and need extra assistance. All guides are trained in swift water rescue and have done hundreds of rescues in their time.

Will I get wet?


What type of kayak do you use?

You will be in a single sit-on-top kayak that has been specially designed and rigged for whitewater kayaking.

What about the weather?

Kayak the Mighty Clutha runs rain or shine! If its chilly out we’ll give you some extra thermal layers to keep you nice and toasty!

How far do we kayak?

The stretch of river from Albert Town to the Luggate Bridge that we paddle is approximately 22 kilometres.

What grade is the river? What are the rapids like?

This is a grade 2 stretch of river. The whole river is very fast flowing, parts of it will be quite flat, especially at the beginning when you are still getting to know your kayak. Further down the rapids get more intense, with bigger waves and more exciting dynamics. At every rapid you will have the option of taking an easier “cruisy” route, or pushing yourself to take on some of the bigger features. Your guide will give you a solid explanation of each option so that you can pick the best line for you!
We‘ve Made the Kayak-Tour on the Clutha River while we had Sunshine all the tour. Our guide Tylor was awesome. The Tour itself was relaxing and perfectly for beginners. Tylor told us a lot about New Zealand and ist nature and Culture.Especially the story why the Kiwi became the National Bird of NZ was really cool. DECEMBER 2019

This is a must do in Wanaka. Great set up and well organised. Chris runs a tight ship and was a pleasure to deal with. Could not recommend this experience enough. Himself and Charlie were great & thoroughly enjoyed our time out on the river. Defo a trip to not be missed! Good job Chris

I took my son for a morning paddle on Lake Wanaka with Joel as guide. We loved it so much that we decided to also to the Clutha River in the afternoon. So one lovely sight-seeing paddle, and another one on the river. Both were amazing. Best bits? The rapids and then cruising calmly along chatting and watching my son trying to paddle-board the kayak (and then happily have a dip in the lovely clear water). Just great. Would recommend BOTH experiences!! Thanks so much. Am definitely returning.

My wife and I spent an exciting morning on the Upper Clutha River a couple of days ago. It was a fantastic experience with just the right amount of excitement on some fast moving water with a few class 2 rapids.. Our guide, Laurie, did a great job of taking us down the river, keeping out of trouble and treating us to a nice snack along the way. PaddleWannaka provided us with great equipment. We would recommend this for anyone looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush in a beautiful setting with great guides to take care of you along the way.
Allow 4 hours
Kayak The Mighty Clutha