Last Modified: 16-7-2021 17:18
By: Christopher Cookson
The Goulter River is a tributary of the Wairau River, about 23 kilometres long, draining Lake Chalice in Mount Richmond Forest Park. Lake Chalice does not have a direct outlet, being formed by a landslide, likely caused by an earthquake, about 2,000 years ago. The lake drains through the shingle at the western end, and thus feeds the Goulter River without a direct outlet channel from the lake. The river mostly flows in a single channel, however there are braided sections. There are also narrow gorge sections. Mean flow is less than 10 cumecs, however biennial floods of around 250 cumecs are typical.
The majority of the catchment area is native forest with beech, areas of mānuka and kānuka near the river flats, although in the lowest reaches there is some exotic scrub, and there are plantation pines on the west bank at Mānuka Island.
The Goulter River has one of the highest water quality ratings in Marlborough, with the second highest water quality index based on data from January 2016 to December 2018. The river also achieved the highest possible rating for natural character in a 2014 report commissioned by the Marlboroguh District Council by Boffa Miskell.
The Goulter River has a significant population of brown trout, and can offer good fishing.
The Northbank Road ends shortly before the confluence of the Goulter with the Wairau, however from the road end, a four wheel drive track follows the Goulter for several kilometres, and from there a tramping track follows the Goulter River to Lake Chalice.
Cite this page
Cookson, C. (2021). Goulter River. Retrieved December, 5, 2023, from https://www.marlboroughonline.co.nz/marlborough/information/geography/rivers/goulter-river/