Upper Waiau River/Waiau-uha - Hanmer Springs

Waiau-uha begins in the Spencer Mountains. This mountain range forms a natural border between the East and West Coast of the South Island

Located near Hanmer Springs and the Lewis Pass the Waiau-uha river flows through the St James Conservation Area and the Glen Hope Station out to the Lewis Pass road where it is joined by the Hope River.

It takes an just under 2 hours in the four wheel drives to reach the starting point of the 3 day adventure up towards Lake Tennyson. To reach the starting point for the 2 day adventure and day tour again it takes just under 2 hours from Hanmer to reach the River driving towards the Lewis Pass and through Glen Hope Station.

The name Waiau translates to river of swirling currents. On this journey you will soon see why, particularly on the second day.

In Māori lore this female river and the male river Waiau-toa (the Clarence River) are lovers. At their head waters these rivers are close together but they separate as they flow toward the Pacific Ocean. Floods on the river occur when Waiau-uha mourns for her lover and her tears melt the snow at her source.

The Waiau-uha is stunning, with rough East Coast landscapes of towering mountains, narrow gorges, tussock valleys and pure clean water.