Lake Wakatipu, in northwestern Otago, drains to the Kawarau River, which flows generally eastwards for about 60 km until it reaches Lake Dunstan near Cromwell. The Shotover River enters it from the north; the Nevis River enters it from the south. The river passes through the steep Kawarau gorge during its journey.
The Roaring Meg power station features along the shore of the Kawarau River.
In the 19th century, gold was extracted from the river. Some of the miners' huts remain today, many of them close to thriving vineyards.
jet boating, white water rafting, boogie boarding, and bungee jumping. The Kawarau Bridge, 43m above the river, is the site of the world's first commercial bungee jumping operation. The river is also the largest volume commercially rafted in New Zealand.
The river also featured in the 2001 motion picture, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.