Movement of the mouth.

Google Earth provides a record of the shifting mouth of the Waitaki River.

In 2002 the mouth was north of the north bank car park. The movement of the mouth from south to north is regular.

The further north the mouth, the more of a lagoon is formed as the river is impeded by the boulder bank.


Then the boulder bank is breached - either by a river flood or by human intervention. The mouth is at the south end, the lagoon is lowered, and the river flow is strong and direct. The longshore drift of the sea just piles up a boulder bank extending out seaward. Stones are brought from the coast extending back to Cape Wanbrow. Removal of coastal stones has pushed the shoreline back - land has been lost to the sea in this area. But if the river flow is weak, the longshore drift brings the stones around and forces the river to change direction northwards.

In 2013 the river mouth was here:


And at the time of writing (Feb 2016) the mouth has shifted northwards to be about 800m north of the carpark.


Access to the mouth.

There are two foot tracks down off the cliff to the boulder bank below.

One aerial photo indicates both tracks. The start of foot tracks 1 and 2 are seen in the photo above.

Foot track 1 goes over the edge as shown below.


Further along in the belt of trees (as indicated in the Car Park photo) there is Foot track 2.


While there is an initial plunge there is fence wire to help there and the rest of the track is regarded as easy.

Vehicle track

About 100m back from the car park there is a rough 4WD track to a backwater.

Up to about a year ago a quad bike could have been used to get to the mouth using this route but not now.

The lagoon is filling again and the backwater could offer a thigh-deep wade or deeper. Not preferred!