Waiau Toa / Clarence River is a truly amazing river that twists and turns its way from its source (Lake Tennyson), high at the northern end of the Southern Alps in the Lewis Pass, gradually descending more than one kilometre in altitude throughout its entire 220km course to the Pacific Ocean.
It slices through some of the most remote and spectacular scenery in the upper South Island. Its tortuous journey follows a natural fault line, between two vast mountain ranges, the Inland and Seaward Kaikōura Ranges, the highest peak rising to nearly 10,000 feet, named Tapuae-o-Uenuku, after the celebrated Māori chief.
Its 220km length makes it the eighth longest river in New Zealand. A large part of the river is within the boundaries of Molesworth Station.
In 2018, the name of the river was officially gazetted as Waiau Toa / Clarence River, to reflect its original Māori name. The meaning of Waiau Toa is translated as ‘the tears of the wife of a great Māori chief, Tapuae-o-Uenuku'.
Clarence River Rafting
Te Waiau Toa is being delivered in partnership with Clarence River Rafting who have over 20 years of experience rafting on Waiau Toa / Clarence River.