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Clutha River Kayak Half Day

Take on the mighty Clutha River and enjoy twists, turns and grade 1-2 rapids!

Wanaka, New Zealand

What's Included

  • Fully guided half day kayak tour on the Clutha River
  • Kayaking on a grade 1-2 section of river
  • Approximately 22kms of paddling
  • Includes drinks and brownies
  • Operates in most weather conditions
  • A little kayaking experience is helpful (once or twice is fine)
  • Wetsuit and all safety equipment included 
  • Pickup from the Wanaka I-site or your Wanaka accommodation


  • Clutha River

Why Do We Love This

This is an adrenaline filled kayaking trip which we think is an EPIC experience. We love that you get to check out some grade 1-2 rapids along the way. 

What to Expect

It's time to take on the mighty Clutha River! This half-day activity is perfect for those with an appetite for adventure. You'll get up close and personal with the famous Clutha River and experience a stunning trip amongst the Wanaka scenery. Get your heart racing as you paddle along its many twists and turns and through 1-2 grade rapids! 

You'll need to have kayaked at least once or twice before to participate in this tour. Once you reach the start point, your guide will give you instructions on river safety and technique. They'll teach you some tips on river reading and give you 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. 

The kayak adventure starts either at the Wanaka I-site or from right at your accommodation door. Meet your guides and make the quick drive down to the river, the start point for your journey!

Once you arrive, you’ll get your safety gear on and participate in a kayaking skills lesson before getting on the water. Your experienced guide will give you lots of information about how to travel down the river safely. Along the way, they'll also give you lots of advice on how to find the right level of kayaking challenge for you. It’s a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure - you can either take the gentle, more relaxed line down the rapids or push yourself to play in some waves.

No matter what your paddling style, be prepared to get very wet! Nearly everyone goes for a swim, sometimes even intentionally!

This trip will take you along a 22 km long route, full of twists, turns and 1-2 grade rapids.

You'll definitely work up an appetite, so luckily there's time to stop for a picnic. Enjoy light beverages and Paddle Wanaka's famous brownies!

After paddling about 22 kilometres you'll arrive at the take-out point to meet your transport home. Get changed while the kayaks get loaded back on to the trailer, then hop in the van for a ride back to Wanaka. Your guide will drop you back to where you were picked up from. 

Allow 4 hours for this tour. Departs 9.00am and 2.00pm. 



Frequently Asked Questions

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.

You should bring your swimwear, 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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!


Terms & Conditions:
  • Risk Awareness: Participation with Paddle Wanaka will require signing a risk disclose form on the day.
  • Things to consider are listed below:
    1) By undertaking this activity, I am aware that I may get wet in some manner, I understand that conditions may change and can get very cold and windy. I am prepared for this.
    2) I understand that this is an outdoor activity, and as such there is always an element of risk involved that may cause serious harm or worse to myself or others, if my actions are inappropriate.
    3) I will listen to, and follow, all instructions given to me by Paddle Wanaka staff.
Cancellation Policy:
  • Cancellations must be given 24 hours prior to the commencement of the tour to receive a full refund.
  • If Paddle Wanaka needs to cancel a booking for any reason, customers will be notified as early as possible, and will be given the option to rebook or be refunded 100% of the trip cost.
  • If on the date of the tour a pre-booked customer does not turn up for whatever reason, no refund will be given.

Pickup Locations

  • Edgewater Resort
  • Lakeside Apartments
  • The Moorings
  • Wanaka Isite
  • Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park & Motels
  • Wanaka Lakeview Holiday Park
  • Wanaka Top 10 Holiday Park
  • YHA Purple Cow

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