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Trip Report – Packrafting the Eglinton River

By: Sarah O’Neil

Source: Southland Section Newsletter (April 2018)

On the weekend 17th and 18th of March for a bit of a change from regular Alpine Club trips Matt Humphries led a trip pack rafting down the Eglinton River. Ten Southland Section members attended.

After some difficulties getting a hold of the hire company, we were offered an awesome discount on rafts, paddles and floatation devices. On the Saturday morning we met in Te Anau to pick up the rafts, grab a coffee and then headed up to put in at the Upper Eglinton Campsite.

We got going about noon with a fleet of pack rafts, our rescue craft (Reece in a Kayak) and Kent travelling in an inflatable children’s boat with plastic paddles. After cruising down the river at a leisurely pace (with a few stops to re-inflate rafts) we stopped at about 3pm to have a bite to eat and check out how far we had travelled. After consulting the map we thought it might be time to start paddling a bit harder, as we’d had only gone 10km and had another 10km to get to our campsite.

The kiddie boat had fared remarkably well, however later in the afternoon disaster stuck when it hit some rapids and deflated. Kent jumped in with Matt and Jonny in their tandem raft and was dropped off at the road to hitch a ride back to Te Anau.

We got to the Campsite about six, had a few beers (it was St Patricks day after all), a meal and headed to bed.

The next morning we put in again and paddled out to Te Anau downs. All up we paddled about 50km downriver. The highlight of the trip was going through the remarkable Gorge, although Matt going for an accidental swim was a close second.

Cheers to Matt for running an excellent trip with a lot of laughs.

Trip team: Matt Humphries (leader), Kent Andrews, Annalise Shariff, Kyle Duckworth, Johnny Russell, Laura Jones, Ash Jones, Reese McKenzie, Erin Noonan

Posted: 14/05/18

Posted By: Narina Sutherland