The Whanganui River, the longest navigable river in New Zealand, has its origin high on Mount Tongariro, starting as an alpine stream gathering waters from Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu. It descends through the central volcanic plateau towards Taumarunui (meeting the Ongarue River), and then continues for around 200km southwestwards, winding through the Whanganui National Park to meet the Tasman Sea.
The stretch of river between Taumarunui and Pipiriki is the only river journey that is part of the New Zealand Great Walks system. Known as the Whanganui Journey, the full trip takes around five days. In development on the banks of the Whanganui River are tracks that form part of the Mountains to Sea trail, one of the nineteen trails which comprise New Zealand's national cycleway project.
History of the Whanganui River
The banks of the river were occupied by the people of Te Atihaunui a Paparangi, the Whanganui iwi (tribe) who lived in villages (kainga) protected by fortified sites (pa). A close and deeply spiritual connection with the river has been maintained and today these villages are being revitalised.
The arrival of European settlers saw the development of riverboat trading and tourism also flourished. The river was important thoroughfare and trading route into central North Island. As roads into the area improved and with the completion of the Main Trunk Railway, riverboat trading declined.
Exploring the Whanganui River today
The rivers three main access points are Taumarunui, Whakahoro and Pipiriki where operators will provide pick up and drop off or vehicle storage services.
►Check out the fishing on the Whanganui River
Whanganui River - Activities
We have listed 6 Whanganui River products. You can search by name, place or quality ratings
The Lodge offers comfortable double/twin share accommodation. Rooms have magnificent bush and river views with French doors opening onto the balcony. Family and bunk rooms are also available.
Whanganui River Canoes can help to arrange your next adventure! To organise 1-6 day freedom or guided canoe trip, mountain bike/tramping shuttles or accommodation, contact us.More info Make an enquiry
Whanganui River Adventures - owned and operated by locals Ken & Josephine Haworth, Ken has been Commercial Jetboating on the river since 1985 with his parents who started in the...More info Make an enquiry
Wades Landing Lodge, 120 bed lodge, licensed bar and restaurant, camping facilities and function specialists run in conjunction with Wades landing outdoors activities including Whanganui River 1-5 day canoe trips,...More info Make an enquiry
Bridge to Nowhere Tour - 4 hours
Departing from Pipiriki our jet boat tours run daily travelling 30km into the wilderness region of the Whanganui National Park. Pass through fern-clad gorges,...
Snow Express is a mountain transport service running a regular shuttle service between Ohakune and Turoa Skifield .
When the conditions on the mountain road are extreme for the safety and...