What a great shared adventure for me and my two teenagers! I spent four days paddling and camping by the river with my daughter (14) in a canoe with me, and with my son (16) in a kayak. While we were very comfortable on the ocean and in kayaks, we had never paddled a canoe before or been on a multi day river trip, so I was a little unsure of how this combination would work, but it turned out to be perfect. It gave my son some independence and my daughter was happy to be at the front of the canoe with me steering.
I selected to complete the most scenic section of the river over 4 days to give us time to enjoy the scenery and to get to campsites with plenty of time to pitch our tent and cook dinner. Other groups completed this same section of the river over 3 days, but that meant a 7 hour paddle on the first day! We hired the canoe and kayak and were self-guided.
Trip Completed: January 2023
Starting Point: Whakahoro, Whanganui River, New Zealand
Ending Point: Pipiriki, Whanganui River, New Zealand
Total Distance: 88 km
Duration: 4 days
Whanganui National Park in the Manawatu/Whanganui region in New Zealand.
Maps and Resources
Map and Guidebook: View Whanganui Journey paddling guide for a detailed map and route guide.
Campsite Reservations: In the Great Walks season (1 October 2023 – 30 April 2024) reservations are required for huts and campsites. Outside the Great Walks season (1 May 2023 – 30 September 2023) reservations are not required — huts and campsites are first come, first serve. Reservations can be made on the Official Whanganui River Journey Page.
Outfitters & Shuttles
Outfitter: You can hire canoes from Whanganui River Canoes.
Road Trip to Raetihi Campground
Like many of our adventures, this one started with a 5 hour road trip. Lots of nervous energy in the car, with questions about how far we had to paddle each day, and h...
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