Murchison is the "Whitewater Kayak Capital" of New Zealand and is in one of the best intermediate boating areas in the world - the Buller river catchment.


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Within 20 minutes of the kayak school there are fourteen great whitewater river runs on the Buller river and its tributaries, the Matiri, the Mangles, the Matakitaki, and the Maruia, ranging from class 1 to class 4. The rivers are mostly rain fed and run all year round and there is no winter freeze. You can paddle all year if you own a dry suit, but the optimum season is October through to the end of March with the best weather in January and February. River flows vary enormously, often from day to day and week to week. As of yet there are no dams in this catchment and the Buller has peaked at 10,200 cumecs or 350,000 cfs. If you are here for a month then you will probably catch some "big water".


Two hours south west of Murchison is Hokitika which has become the base area for harder river runs in the Southern Alps. Many of these rivers can only be accessed by helicopters, which are the ultimate in shuttle vehicles. Largely as a result of the numerous deer recovery operations that exist in the Southern Alps, there are many helicopter operations in convenient locations with short shuttle times.


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