Waimakariri Gorge: Guided Trip

Waimakariri Gorge: Guided Trip

Regular price$429
Pay only $107.25 today with code "DEPOSIT" at checkout.

Suitable for kayakers who have paddled the Waimakariri Gorge within the last 5 years, this single-day trip will provide you with the logistics, safety support, and expert guidance you need to gain more experience on the river in preparation for the Coast to Coast race.

  • Train on the race course as safely as possible
  • Learn the best lines down the river
  • Prepare for the Coast to Coast kayak stage

Trip Date:
  • 2 left available
  • Please contact us to join the waitlist
Hire kayaks available
Weather and flow dependent
Reschedule for free with 21 days notice

Doing Coast to Coast, but haven’t spent enough time on the river?

  • Have you got the basic skills, but need more practice on the race route?
  • Do you not feel comfortable kayaking the Gorge with random strangers or (worse) by yourself?
  • Do the rapids of the Waimakariri Gorge still make you nervous?

On Canterbury Kayaking's single-day Waimakariri Gorge: Guided Trip, you’ll gain the river time you need in a safe and controlled manner with the support of a professional guide. Once you've got the river time you need to become comfortable with the race route, you'll feel completely relaxed going into the kayak stage of the Coast to Coast race.

You’ve trained too hard to roll the dice on race day.

Many athletes struggle to get enough time on the river before the Coast to Coast race. Kayaking can be a logistical nightmare and paddling solo or with random people can be unsafe. But if you don’t get the river time you need, you’ll be taking a massive gamble during the kayak stage of the race.

On this trip, you’ll be guided through the Waimakariri Gorge in a small group, led by a qualified and experienced guide. All the logistics and safety procedures will be taken care of, so you can relax and focus on your paddling.

Once you've gained the experience you need with the Coast to Coast kayak route, you’ll know all the lines you need to take and you’ll feel fully prepared to hit the river on race day.

How It Works

  1. Book your date(s) at the top of this page
  2. Enjoy paddling the Waimakariri Gorge
  3. Kayak in the Coast to Coast with confidence

Meet Your Guide

Sam Milne is the most experienced kayak guide on the Waimakariri River and the founder of Canterbury Kayaking. Through helping over 1,000 athletes prepare for the Coast to Coast, Sam has learned there is no replacement for training on the race course.

Throughout his years being involved with Coast to Coast, Sam has seen that paddlers who invest time on race route do significantly better in the kayak stage than those who simply wing it. No matter how good a paddler’s skills are, knowing the river intimately offers a distinct advantage.

That’s why Sam continues to offer single-day guided trips to kayakers training for the Coast to Coast. During this trip, you’ll be shown all the preferred lines down the river and will have the opportunity to refine your kayaking skills so you can become a more confident paddler.

After you attend Canterbury Kayaking’s Waimakariri Gorge: Guided Trips, you’ll know you have done everything in your power to ensure you have the successful Coast to Coast Kayak stage you deserve.

What do I get with the trip?

  • Full-day kayaking on the Waimakariri River with Sam Milne, the Waimakariri River's most experienced kayak guide.
  • Experience 55km of the Coast to Coast race route from Mt White to Woodstock.
  • Option to renew your grade 2 kayak certificate.
  • Transport and shuttle for the day.
  • Complete safety system including evacuation plan, sat-phone, VHF and PLB technology.
  • Option to hire a boat, paddle, spray skirt, PFD and helmet.


Ideally, you will bring your own stable multisport kayak or lightweight sea kayak to this trip. However, we do have lightweight sea kayaks available for hire and multisport kayaks can be hired through River Ninja Rentals if arranged in advance.

You will need to have ALL of the following items (* = hire available):

All required gear is availble to purchase through us and can be collected at the trip.

This trip runs over a single day.

Pick-ups: We offer two pick-up location options for you and your kayak:

  1. Yaldhurst @ 7:15 a.m.
  2. Sheffield @ 7:45 a.m.

We will check your compulsory gear and provide a safety briefing at Mt White. You will be on the river for 5–6 hours and we will stop 2–3 times during the trip for rest/food/etc.

Drop-offs: We will get off the river at Woodstock (55 kilometre point) get changed, then drop you back at the same location:

  1. Yaldhurst @ 4:15 p.m.
  2. Sheffield @ 5:00 p.m.

Yes. If you are unable to pay in full at the time of booking, please enter the discount code DEPOSIT during checkout to reserve your spot with just a 25% deposit. We will invoice you for the balance, which will be due 21 days before your trip.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
James Dalzell (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Best Preperation

Sam and Will put on a great program and would highly recommend their very talented skills to best guide anyone down the river. Their detailed and well-thought-out process makes the whole process a breeze

Roger Devonshire (Auckland, New Zealand)

Coming from Auckland, where the kayaking terrain is quite different, these trips are invaluable preparation for the Coast to Coast race. The highlight of the trip was our guide, Sam. His expertise and passion for kayaking were evident throughout the day. Sam not only provided essential safety instructions but also shared insightful tips and techniques that significantly improved my paddling skills. His knowledge of the Waimakariri Gorge was impressive, and he navigated us through the river with ease. These guided tours played a pivotal role in boosting my confidence for the Coast to Coast. Sam's guidance and the challenging yet exhilarating nature of the Waimakariri River allowed me to push my limits and refine my kayaking abilities. I felt more in control and capable after each trip, which has undoubtedly enhanced my readiness for the upcoming race. Whether you're a seasoned kayaker or relatively new to the sport, this guided tour is an excellent investment in skill development and confidence building.

Ryan Keogh (Auckland, New Zealand)

Great experience and service from Sam and the team at Canterbury Kayaking. A phone call the day before to discuss the weather for the trip and pick up locations was a nice touch. Thanks!

Ross Dittmer

I spent the best Sunday paddling the Waimakariri river with
Canterbury Kayaking. Sam and his team did an excellent job with
gear hire and helpful instructions on the way down. Can’t wait to
book another trip!!!!

Anna Engels (Auckland, New Zealand)

Spent the day with Canterbury Kayaking on a guided trip on the Waimakariri River. Sam was a very helpful and knowledgeable guide.

Canterbury Kayaking is an approved training provider, officially recommended by the Kathmandu Coast to Coast.

Our safety systems have been independently audited and certified by AdventureMark.

All our guides are qualified through the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association.