Watch for Hidden Obstacles in Rivers

Dec 23, 2013

Rivers in the Queenstown Lakes District are a magnet for holiday-makers with inflatable boats, inner tubes, lilos and body boards, but they’re an ever-changing environment so

Queenstown Lakes District Harbourmaster Marty Black is encouraging people to check out the conditions before launching themselves into the water.

Logs and other debris often wash downstream after heavy or steady rain, and can create obstacles – often on the surface but sometimes hidden just below the waterline.

At the weekend, a group of kayakers had a near miss on the Hawea River where an eroding stretch of bank has effectively left a tree strainer in mid stream. The tree is about 4km downstream of the Camphill Road bridge.

Mr Black says Contact Energy will gradually reduce the flow in the river from its current 50-60 cumecs to around 10 cumecs, which will reduce the risk until a decision is made on how the hazard can be removed.

There is also a large willow tree in the Shotover River about 500m downstream of Tucker Beach, which Mr Black says is a potential trap for anyone floating down the river in a tube or a raft.

“Even if you’re using a stretch of river that you’re familiar with, please keep a good look out for trees, logs and other debris. Rivers are very dynamic and can change from day to day as the level rises and falls.