Whanganui National Park Canoe

Explore the Whanganui National Park with Canoe Safaris on a one to five day canoe tour

Canoe Safaris – Whanganui National Park

Ko au te Awa, ko te Awa ko au

I am the river, the river is me.

Looking for a New Zealand Holiday with a difference this summer? How about a 1-5 day paddle through the Whanganui National Park with Canoe Safaris?

The 3-5 day trip covers 87km (more if you choose a 5 day trip), and can only accessed by river. 

The Whanganui River was, until recent times, the main route into New Zealand's North Island interior. Used initially by the Maori and subsequently by European settlers, it has a fascinating and exciting history of wars, steamboat navigation, a floating houseboat, water-driven flour mills, abandoned homes, farms and the Bridge to Nowhere.

At the turn of the last century the Whanganui River was recognised as one of the world's outstanding tourist routes and promoted as the "Rhine of New Zealand." The river flows through the largest remaining areas of untouched lowland forest in the North Island and in 1987 much of the surrounding native bush was formed into the Whanganui National Park.

Canoe Safaris have been running multi-day Canoe holidays on the Whanganui for over twenty five years and take great pride in the standard of their canoeing and camping equipment, and on their guides who will get you safely down the river, and then cook up a three course meal (with wine) in the evening.

Depending on the length of trip you choose there are several walks to be enjoyed – Maraekowhai (site of the rebellious Hauhau warriors, the war and peace poles, and the initial mooring site of the houseboat), Whakahoro (start of the three day Kaiwhakauka track, and later mooring of the houseboat), Bridge to Nowhere track (and the post WW1 Mangapurua settlement), Tangahoe landing and waterfall, and the Matemateonga track (a short uphill walk to the Puketotara hut, with views of Mt Ruapehu).

The trips are designed as holidays so the longer the trip the more leisurely it is. Three days is the minimum to paddle the 87km, and to make the three day trip more comfortable Canoe Safaris have imported two 6 person “Voyageur” canoes from Canada.

These canoes have a guide in the back, and he or she keeps the boat in the current relates stories of the early Maori and European history unique to the Whanganui.

Trips finish at Pipiriki and after a look at the village it’s a one hour drive back to Ohakune.

New this year is a one day paddle from Taumarunui in the Voyageur canoes – plenty of small rapids and a short walk to the Lavender Farm for lunch.

To find out more visit www.canoesafaris.co.nz, email on info@canoesafaris.co.nz or phone on 0800 2PADDLE (0800 272335) Click here to see view the Bridge to Nowhere video.

Customer feedback:

We’d like to thank you and your staff for accommodating us this summer on the Rangitikei  River trip in December. It was defiantly the highlight of our stay in NZ. Beautiful scenery, great food and very good guiding by Daryl Jones and Marie-Pierre Dinelle. We had a blast! Please pass on our thanks, it was nice to have a local doing the guiding. Best of luck in the future, Jeff & Marcy, Campbell River, B. C. Canada.

We just wanted to let you know that we had a fantastic time on the Whanganui River 2-6/1. Grant and Gail were superb guides and are both went the extra mile to ensure that we all had a great time. Our daughter Stella (age 7 1/2) had so much fun and really surprised us with her determination to keep up with the older children in the group. We will have no hesitation in recommending your company to others and we look forward to our next adventure with Canoe Safaris.

Hi Sam et al
I am writing to say how wonderful the experience of our recent canoe trip down the Wanganui was. We loved the company and expertise of our guides, Gail and Grant. they were friendly, supportive, excellent teachers and great cooks. They were fantastic with the children, as well. Nic, our 15 year old son, thought that Grant was (I quote) 'the man'. I have attached a few photos of them that we took.

The organisation was superb - food, camping, timing, tourist aspects. As a total non-canoeist I felt completely safe and that the physical side of the trip was within my capabilities. We were talking about what our favourite parts were afterward and I thought I'd pass on what we came up with: Murray (husband) - the actual canoeing; Jo (wife) - the history - seeing the Bridge to Nowhere and the old farm etc - it was great having the books along on the trip; Nic - the old farm with the waterfall and the rapids; Alex - swimming down the rapids.