The Waiōhine River has a relatively long and narrow catchment area of 378 sq km on the eastern side of the Tararua Range.
From its headwaters at an elevation of 1500m, the river flows out onto the alluvial gravel deposits of the Wairarapa plains, over a distance of 20km to its confluence with the Ruamāhanga River.
On the Wairarapa plains the Waiōhine River is joined by one major tributary, the Mangatārere, which has a catchment of 90 sq km in the Tararua foothills.
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