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Whakarira Gorge, West Coast

This river gorge is set amid the legendary grandeur of Westland and is readily accessible from Mid Branch Road, beside the Kokatahi River (permission is required from the local farmer for access). 

It’s a muddy, rocky track into the canyon with a few streams to cross and some riverside travel before the final terrace that leads through bush to a rock-walled canyon spanned by a short and airy footbridge beneath mossy rock faces. 

The spectacle gained from the footbridge is of fluted rock faces, powerful azure-coloured water and tranquil pools. Log jams are often present, demonstrating the power of the big West Coast floods.

The track can be followed through rough forest to Adamson Creek (difficult in high flows) for an upstream appraisal of the canyon. 

The canyon has been formed by the action of the great ice tongues that were once extruded through the basement rocks of Westland. They are common in most of the rivers here, though rarely as accessible as Whakarira Gorge.

9km return
Easy / Moderate
3hr return

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Whakarira Gorge (gpx, 4 KB)

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