The Motu River is a super remote three or four day wilderness trip through the Raukumara Range – one of the last areas in Aotearoa to be mapped. The scenery is amazing and when you get on the river you really feel like you are a long way from civilisation.

There are not many multi-day trips in the North Island and the Motu is one of those trips that you need a little bit of luck as well as some organisation. The Motu is best run after a decent amount of rain, but not too much or your multi day leisurely float can turn into a terrifying day trip along a raging torrent to the sea.

We managed to line things up pretty perfectly. We had a week of rain, which mean the Kaituna closed and everybody was out of work but on the plus side we all had time off together and we could use a company raft to help carry our gear and the people who didn’t want to kayak. To add a silver lining we had three days of beautiful sunshine.

Towards the end of day two some of the boys decided to ‘cull’ a couple of goats from the side of the river (goats are not native to New Zealand and are voracious pests which can reduce a forest to grassland if left unmanaged). Kirsty managed to shoot one off a moving raft which was pretty impressive. We then pulled over to get a few more and the kick back from the rifle got Jesper pretty good. With some expert field medicine as well as some magic potions from Kim, Jesper was patched up and good to go.

This is a trip you should jump at the chance if you’re ever lucky enough to get the opportunity to do. It is pretty hard to describe how awesome it is so its probably best to just go and see for yourself.

If you’re interested in this trip Motu Trails Hire and Shuttle can sort your shuttle out for you. You can also find a detailed guidebook description over on