Escape to the wilderness on a canoe safari in New Zealand on our Whanganui River tour
Escape to the wilderness on a canoe safari in New Zealand on our Whanganui River tour.
Just imagine a holiday away from it all, no cell phones, no television, no shops, no traffic. Just you and your partner, an open Canadian canoe and the stunning scenery. A vast portion of the stretch we cover is almost inaccessible from land. This is the type of adventure that all New Zealanders and visitors alike should experience at least once in their life. Words alone cannot describe its special magic.
The Whanganui river is a long high volume waterway, and Canadian style canoes are the best option for enjoying the distance, and teaching the correct techniques to be able to appreciate this wilderness is a speciality of Canoe Safaris New Zealand
This is the general five day itinerary which can change due to weather, water levels, or other factors at anytime, the three and four day tour starts at Day 2.
Day 1 of your New Zealand Canoe Safari
Depart Ohakune between 7.30 and 8.00am for the river. At Ohinepane we unload canoes and barrels and show you how to pack your canoe. The first day includes lunch at Poukaria Campsite, we paddle past the old riverboat landing at Kirikau and take a short walk at Marae Kowhai. View the Ohura falls, and the War and Peace Poles that were erected by the Hau Hau warriors. It's then a short paddle to the first nights camp at Maharanui.
The gorge starts to narrow and we leave the last road access point behind at Whakahoro, the second and final mooring point for the Houseboat. We pass Laceys and Wades landings and several old maori Kaianga. Later in the morning we pass Mangapapa campsite, Man of War Bluff, Kirikiriroa where the river does a huge horseshoe turn, the Verandah, the Whirlpool and on down to Tamatea's Cave and a possible lunch stop at Ohauora campsite. There is plenty of time for stops and there are safe places to get out and swim. Camp at Ohauora campsite.
Breakfast and on the river at 9am. A stunning morning paddle through the straightest part of the river and through another vertical gorge before stopping at John Coull campsite for morning tea. Afterwards, we go past the Tangarakau and Whangamomona rivers, Mangawaiiti campsite, and Otumangu landing - one of the post WW1 faming settlements. Shortly afterwards we see the first pine trees since Whakahoro (planted by the early settlers), and lastly we stop at the Mangapurua campsite for the evening.
After breakfast we walk to the Bridge to Nowhere (45 min each way). After the walk there is time for a swim before we paddle the last 1.5hrs down to Ramanui campsite. If the weather and time allows we also take a short walk at Tangahoe landing to the Tangahoe waterfall.
Dinner and hot showers at Ramanui Campground where you can upgrade to sleeping in a cabin if you like (pre bookings only).
After breakfast, we start paddling again and pass Kahura landing and one of the locations for the filming of "River Queen". It is another hours paddle through the steep gorge until the river cascades through Ngaporo rapid and past the Mangaio stream and Mangaio rock where several of the early eyebolts can still be seen that were winching points for the riverboats. On down to Pururoto Caves and past to the legendary Autapu rapid for lunch. From Autapu there are several small rapids before the Paparoa rapids swing the canoes past the old eel traps and down to the landing at Pipiriki. It is a one hour drive on our bus back to our base in Ohakune. It's a fantastic trip for all ages perfect for families and the kids will always have something to do.