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"To us, trips feel like we're out doing the things we love with a group of good friends and that's exactly how it is at Hidden Valleys."
- Grant South (Southy)

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Ada Pass Hiking & Whitewater Rafting

The hike in to the Waiau River over Ada Pass is best done over two days followed by two days on the river. The Ada Pass section of track is part of the St James walkway accessed from the Lewis Pass Highway. It is a formed track mostly through Beech Forest until descending down the Ada River to the Waiau Valley.

A Typical Journey Over Ada Pass Consists Of:

Day 1: Drive to the start of the walk and then hike to Ada Pass Hut.

Day 2: Day 2 Is a 4-5 hour walk to the Henry River and Waiau River junction where we set up camp for the night.

Day 3: Not long after leaving camp we have a section of river called ‘The Narrows’, around 400 m of Grade 4 rapids after which we raft to our lower river camp.

The morning consists of two hours rafting out through a long scenic gorge, down to where the Waiau River meets The Hope River and on to the take-out not far from Hanmer Springs.

“Our trip to New Zealand was magnificent. At the beginning of our planning stage, a friend highly recommended Grant South, (Southy) to guide us in New Zealand. Southy’s passion and love for showing people his native country were evident from the start. But Southy made it even better by designing a trip specifically geared to our personal interests and fitness levels. The highlights of our trip were the Peel Forest and Rangitata gorge area. Hiking and flying around Peel Forest, and kayaking and white-water rafting the Rangitata River, should be experienced at least once (or more) in a lifetime. Southy provided the ultimate adventure with a standard of excellence that surpassed any Guide experience that we had encountered before. Southy and his wife Sue made us feel like we were on a trip with trusted friends, doing what they, and we, love. We will return. Thank you Hidden Valleys!”

Anna Sanford


  • Fully guided: $2050
  • Self guided: $1450
  • Four Wheel Drive-In – raft out: $1650

General info

  • Ability: Like many of our more rugged New Zealand alpine trips this trip is weather dependent. You need to have a high standard of fitness.
    For whitewater rafting sections of the trip, you must have a reasonable standard of fitness and be confident in water, minimum age may apply.
  • Accommodation & Getting There: We can arrange all your transport and accommodation requirements.
  • Departure Dates: Season from October to start of April.

Enjoy hiking trips in New Zealand’s South Island with Hidden Valleys.