Whanganui Journey is a popular five-day canoe trip in New Zealand that has been named one of the country’s ten Great Walks.
This unique journey allows visitors to explore the scenic Whanganui River by paddling down it through a landscape of remote hills and bush-clad valleys.
The Whanganui River is the third-longest river in New Zealand and has great cultural significance to the Maori people. The journey starts at Taumarunui and ends at Pipiriki, covering a distance of 90 miles (145 kilometers).
Along the way, visitors can experience the stunning natural beauty of the Whanganui National Park, which is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.
The Whanganui Journey is suitable for people with good fitness levels and basic paddling experience. It is an excellent way to experience the New Zealand wilderness and learn about the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Visitors can also choose to take a guided tour or rent equipment and do the journey independently.
Location and Overview
The Whanganui Journey is an iconic multi-day canoe or kayak adventure in New Zealand that takes you down the Whanganui River.
The river is located in the Whanganui National Park, which is in the central North Island of New Zealand. The journey covers 145 km of river, starting from Taumarunui and ending at Pipiriki.
The Whanganui River is New Zealand’s third-longest river and is known for its stunning scenery, remote hills, and bush-clad valleys. The river is steeped in Maori history and culture, and the journey is an excellent way to experience the local culture and learn about the river’s significance to the Maori people.
The Whanganui Journey is a popular tourist attraction in New Zealand and is considered one of the country’s Great Walks. The journey is suitable for people of all ages and skill levels, making it a great activity for families, couples, and groups of friends.
History and Culture
The Whanganui Journey is a unique adventure that takes you through the rich history and culture of the Whanganui region.
The Whanganui River has been an important waterway for both Māori and European settlers for centuries. The river was used to transport goods and people, and it played a significant role in the development of the region.
The Whanganui River is considered a taonga (treasure) by local Māori, and it has great spiritual significance. The river is believed to be the physical form of the ancestor, Te Awa Tupua, and it is treated with great respect. The Whanganui Journey is an opportunity to learn about the rich Māori culture and history of the region.
The Whanganui Journey is also an opportunity to learn about the European history of the region. The Whanganui River was an important trading route for European settlers, and it played a significant role in the development of the region. The river was used to transport goods, including timber and coal, and it was also used to transport people.
The Whanganui Journey is a unique opportunity to experience the history and culture of the Whanganui region.
The journey takes you through stunning scenery and allows you to experience the rich history and culture of the region. Whether you are interested in Māori culture, European history, or simply want to experience the natural beauty of the region, the Whanganui Journey is an adventure that you will never forget.
How to Get There
The Whanganui Journey is located in New Zealand’s Whanganui National Park, which is situated on the west coast of the North Island. The closest major city is Wellington, which is approximately 200 kilometers south of Whanganui National Park.
The easiest way to get to the Whanganui Journey is by car. From Wellington, take State Highway 1 north to Bulls, then turn onto State Highway 3 towards Whanganui. From there, follow the signs to Whanganui National Park. The drive takes approximately three hours.
If you prefer to take public transportation, there are several bus services that run from Wellington to Whanganui. Once you arrive in Whanganui, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to the start of the Whanganui Journey.
It’s important to note that the Whanganui Journey is a one-way trip, so you’ll need to arrange transportation back to your starting point. Many tour operators offer shuttle services for this purpose, or you can make arrangements with a local taxi service.
Whanganui Journey Experience
Kayaking and Canoeing
The Whanganui Journey is a five-day kayaking and canoeing adventure along the Whanganui River in New Zealand.
It is a unique experience that allows you to explore the remote hills and bush-clad valleys of the Whanganui National Park.
The journey starts at Taumarunui and ends at Pipiriki, covering a distance of 145 kilometres. The river is graded as easy to moderate, making it suitable for people with good fitness levels and some paddling experience. You can rent kayaks or canoes from several outfitters, and they will provide you with all the necessary equipment and safety gear.
Scenery and Wildlife
The Whanganui River is known for its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife. As you paddle down the river, you will see towering cliffs, lush forests, and tranquil waterfalls.
You will also encounter a variety of bird species, including the endangered blue duck, and if you’re lucky, you might spot a rare whio or kiwi.
Along the way, you will pass by several historic sites, including old Maori pa sites and European settlements. You can also visit the Bridge to Nowhere, a mysterious concrete bridge that was built in the 1930s but never completed.
Accommodation and Camping
There are several options for accommodation and camping along the Whanganui Journey.
You can stay in one of the Department of Conservation (DOC) huts, which are located at various points along the river. These huts are basic but comfortable, and they have cooking facilities and bunk beds.
If you prefer to camp, there are several campsites along the river that are managed by DOC or private operators. These campsites have basic facilities, such as toilets and water supply, and some of them also have cooking shelters and picnic tables.
|DOC Huts||Basic but comfortable huts with cooking facilities and bunk beds.|
|Campsites||Managed by DOC or private operators, with basic facilities such as toilets and water supply.|
|Lodges||Luxury lodges with all the amenities, located in remote and scenic locations.|
If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, there are also several lodges along the river that offer all the amenities, including hot tubs, gourmet meals, and guided tours.
These lodges are located in remote and scenic locations, and they provide a unique and unforgettable experience.
Tips and Recommendations
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Whanganui Journey in New Zealand is during the summer months, from November to April.
During this time, the weather is warm and dry, making it perfect for canoeing and camping. It is important to note that the river can be affected by heavy rain, so it is always best to check the weather forecast before embarking on your journey.
What to Bring
When packing for the Whanganui Journey, it is important to pack lightly, as you will be carrying all of your gear in your canoe.
Some essential items to bring include:
- Canoe or kayak
- Life jackets
- Sleeping bag and pad
- Cooking stove and fuel
- Food and water
- Clothing suitable for canoeing and camping
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
- First aid kit
It is also important to pack your gear in waterproof bags or containers to keep them dry throughout your journey.
Before embarking on your journey, it is important to check the weather forecast and river conditions. If the river is high or there is heavy rain forecasted, it may be best to postpone your journey. It is also important to let someone know your itinerary and expected return date.
When canoeing, always wear a life jacket and be aware of your surroundings. The river can have strong currents and hidden hazards, so it is important to stay alert and paddle safely. It is also important to pack a distress beacon and know how to use it in case of an emergency.
Finally, it is important to practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out all of your trash. The Whanganui Journey is a beautiful and remote area, and it is important to preserve it for future generations.
The Whanganui Journey in New Zealand is a unique and unforgettable experience for those seeking adventure and natural beauty. With its stunning landscapes, pristine forests, and scenic river, this trip offers a chance to connect with nature and challenge oneself physically.
While the journey requires good fitness and confidence with a canoe, it is a rewarding experience that is worth the effort. The 145 km long route is the only Great Walk in New Zealand that involves canoeing rather than trekking, making it a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Whether you are an experienced paddler or a beginner, the Whanganui Journey offers something for everyone. With its rich history and cultural significance, it is also an opportunity to learn about the Maori culture and their connection to the land.
If you are planning a trip to New Zealand, make sure to add the Whanganui Journey to your itinerary. It is a unique and unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.