Altitude: 436m to 473m. Gain: 146m. Loss: 125m . Gradient: 5 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
The sidle track shown on maps up Parakahi Stream does not exist. The actual route sticks in the riverbed until the next forks downriver from Te Totora.
I traveled this route in moderate flows - we'd had 1 day of steady rain followed by two dry days. Conditions were at best marginal - two unintended swims were included. Though the river was deep and swift, it was flat (no rapids/white water) , and so long as you are a strong swimmer, being swept downriver was merely a case of swimming back to shore and trying again. In low flows / dry conditions, this should be a relatively simple river walk.
The access the Parakahi from the swingbridge, the easiest approach was to start on the western bank, cross the Waiau above the forks, then walk up the Parahaki riverbed. Crossing the swingbridge to the east leaves you high on the face, with steep, windfall-clogged descents to reach the river.
The route is in the riverbed. This starts wide, knee deep and flat on good gravel beds, with the first 500m being relatively straight forward, even at a time when the Waiau was barely crossable. However, as you proceed upriver crossings become harder and harder. The valley gorges out, and you are continuously crossing upriver, against the flow from shingle beaches on one side to another. Depth doubled over the first 500m, to where most crossing were waist deep in moderate flows.
Two short gorges required travel upriver, against the flow in waist deep water - in moderate-high flows this meant hauling yourself against the flow using the cliff-face. Fun.
From roughly the 1st confluence 500m below Te Totora Stream, a sidle track started on the true right, following low terraces upriver. 3 more crossings were required, but the worst was definitely over by this point.
The confluence with Te Totora is not obvious - Te Totora is the larger flow and enters from straight ahead, with the Parahaki entering from the true right.