Te Araroa

16.3. Reaching the Rangitata River

Waking up with sunshine in the morning after heavy rain at night we started off hiking in a pretty valley. As the weather turned out to be really nice again, we were hoping to cross the Rangitata River in the afternoon ☀️

Sunshine morning after some heavy rain at night, it couldn’t have been better!

Sunshine in the morning

From now on, we needed to follow the Bush Creek all the way to the Rangitata River. The Bush Creek Valley was quite narrow at the beginning but after a while it opened up and got quite wide.

Skipping the narrow parts of the Bush Creek Valley and going down when the valley got wider

We had to cross the creek a few times as it was sometimes easier to walk on the right or left side of it. We met some hikers that have crossed the Rangitata River yesterday and they said it is really low and easy to cross.

Down in the wide valley

At the end of the valley, we finally reached the Rangitata River! We were very excited to cross it in this nice weather. But when we got closer to the river, we saw that it is not clear and it somehow looks flooded. We gave it a try anyways.

Trying to cross the Rangitata River

Soon we realized that the river we tried to cross wasn’t an actual river yet but rain water from yesterday night… When we reached the real Rangitata River we had to turn around as it was too high to cross it.

As it was so sunny out we thought we could cross it easily today just as some hikers have done it yesterday. But the rain at night has raised the water level so that it was impossible. It is very common in New Zealand that rivers flood quickly it it rains over the big mountains. This means it can be sunny where you are but if it rains further up a river you intend to cross, you can still be screwed. So lessons learned: If someone crosses a river at one day doesn’t mean that you can cross it the next day as well…

So we set up our camp besides the river at about 4pm and started to wait for the river to lower. We cooked some food and hoped we could cross it the next day.