The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy yourself, so a good level of fitness and strong swimming ability are needed.
If you cannot swim this is not the trip for you.
Find out more about the journey and what is involved:
Day 1, Cherry Grove, Taumarunui > Poukaria Campsite, 36 km
The land around the Whanganui River Journey is remote and rugged. Beginning just out of Taumuranui, you'll soon experience steep- sided forested valleys that stretch as far as the eye can see. As you wind your way down the Whanganui River, the land rises steeply on all sides providing the sensation of being cradled deep in heart of the forest. Tonight you'll sleep in Poukaria Campsite(opens in new window), where you'll be able to look and listen for kereru, tui and fantail. Brown kiwi can often be heard at night. The surrounding forest is a mix of rātā, rewarewa, rimu, tawa and kōwhaitrees.
Day 2, Poukaria Campsite > Mangapapa Campsite, 32 km
As you paddle further into the wilderness, you'll notice that the vertical forests concentrate the melodies of the abundant native birdlife. The day begins with a dawn chorus which then continues through the day. Plump kererū (wood pigeon) plummet from the forest canopy before gaining sufficient speed to rise again and noisily crash-land into the foliage in search of more berries. Cradled within a valley, the Mangapapa Campsite(opens in new window) is just off the river, it's remoteness emphasizing that you're deep within the park.
Day 3, Mangapapa Campsite > John Coull Hut, 37 km
Today, look out for plump kererū (wood pigeon) plummet from the forest canopy before gaining sufficient speed to rise again and noisily crash-land into the foliage in search of more berries. Enjoy sleeping in a hut instead of a tent tonight. At dusk around John Coull Hut(opens in new window), long-tailed bats can be seen crossing the river high above the canopy. And at night, the sharp screech of kiwi can often be heard.
Day 4, John Coull Hut > Tieke Kainga Hut, 30 km
Heading off from John Coull Hut, see if you can hear the native tūī bird waking up. Their bell-like notes and rasping coughs, clicks and rattles are conspicuous with their sleek dark-metallic feathers and tuft of white on their neck. Fantails execute seemingly impossible aerial manoeuvres in pursuit of invisible insects while the sounds of native robins, grey warblers and tomtits can also be heard.
The Tieke Kainga Hut(opens in new window) is a large hut complete with heating and cooking equipment. Tīeke Kāinga Hut offers a unique cultural experience since it’s a functioning marae as well as a hut, please be respectful and practice tikanga(opens in new window) during your visit to this hut.
Day 5, Tieke Kainga Hut > Pipiriki, 20 km
Savour the last few hours of wilderness and birdsong this morning as you paddle to the end of your river journey in Pipiriki.