Monthly Archives: May 2022

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Canoeing VS Kayaking: What’s the Difference? | Canoe Safaris

Posted by Phillip Collins on May 20, 2022


Canoeing VS Kayaking: What’s the Difference?


Despite the fact that many use the two words interchangeably, there are actually clear differences between a kayak and a canoe. The boats are different. The gear is different. The way they are used is different. But few know what those differences actually are. Our aim is to explore these differences in detail and explain why a canoe is a perfect vessel for exploring New Zealand’s waterways.



Difference in Design


Canoes tend to be much heavier than kayaks, with a wide frame and an open-top design akin to a rowboat. The spacious design allows for multiple passengers to sit on bench seats and can hold a lot of additional gear. They are considered Expedition craft, more suited to longer journeys. 


Kayaks are smaller, nimble boats designed for speed and maneuverability. Typically, but not always, they have a closed-top design, meaning the paddler sits inside the boat with the kayak covering their legs.



Row Row Row Your Boat


Since canoes tend to be a lot heavier than kayaks; paddling them requires a good deal more effort. In fact, paddling a canoe will more often than not require two people since the boat is larger and the paddles are shorter and have only a single blade.  More effort does not mean more hard work though, as using good Canoe paddle techniques, and teamwork makes them a really enjoyable -and responsive – watercraft. 


Paddling a kayak, on the other hand, is far more straightforward. The paddles have two blades, one on each end, and since kayaks aren’t typically as wide or as heavy – meaning less cargo - a single person can easily operate a kayak, and this makes it instinctively easier for a novice, or solo paddler. 



Don’t Rock the Boat


A canoe’s wider hull allows for greater stability on the water, ensuring that even the most inexperienced paddlers can stay dry. This security does come at the cost of some short-term maneuverability and acceleration, so don’t expect to be setting record times through the rapids anytime soon in a canoe however, over longer distances they become invaluable.


Kayaks are far smaller and lighter, making them easier to maneuver and quicker over short distances. This greater maneuverability comes at the cost of less stability and higher chances of taking an unwanted dip in the river. The initial learning curve for using a kayak is much simpler than a canoe, and you can get away with less technique.



Canoes and Kayaks – What are they Good for?


Both kayaks and canoes can be used for a wide range of activities — but each does carry certain benefits. It can be helpful to think of a kayak as a sports car and a canoe as the minivan of the paddling world. Kayaks are better suited to big rapids or ocean and estuary trips, Whereas canoes are better suited for those looking for longer expedition style trips over multiple days, down a winding river with the family.


Experience New Zealand Like Never Before


Now that you know how to tell the difference between a kayak and a canoe, you will also be able to choose the best boat for your next adventure. Why not make that next adventure a trip down the Whanganui River? At Canoe Safaris, we do offer Whanganui canoe hire to some groups who present as suitable and capable, however we focus on our all-inclusive guided tours on either the Whanganui River or the Rangitikei River– just bring your sleeping bag and personal items, we do the rest.  Come and experience New Zealand like never before with Canoe Safaris New Zealand!

Discover the Whanganui River History | Canoe Safaris

Posted by Phillip Collins on May 05, 2022


Long and Winding History of the Whanganui River


Time stands still on the Whanganui River. On the river, you are slicing through a storied past that reaches back hundreds of years, from Taumarunui through the deep gorges of Whanganui National Park, until bush-covered hills fall into the sea at the town of Whanganui.


In this blog post, we float through the Whanganui River’s history, spanning back to the first people discovering it, through colonial times right up into modern history, painting a vivid picture of one of New Zealand’s most unique rivers.



Tamatea, Captain of the Takitimu


The Whanganui River was initially discovered around 1350 when Tamatea, captain of the T?kitimu canoe, brought some of the first Polynesian migrants to the island. Ever since, the Whanganui Iwi have lived by, travelled on, and drawn sustenance from the river.


Tamatea named many famous locations still seen along the river today, such as Te Punga where he cast anchor, Tangahoe where he cut paddles, and Tamatea’s Cave, where he sought shelter.



Early Maori Settlements


The river once sheltered a large population of M?ori settlements. The river's low gradient and straightforward navigability, along with suitable defensive locations for fortified 'pa,' led to the formation of many villages along its lengths. Remnants of early M?ori influence can still be seen as you traverse the ancient waters of the Whanganui.



The Plaited Rope of Hinengakau


In time, the river became linked by a series of p?, called ‘the plaited rope of Hinengakau’. This name symbolises the unity of the Whanganui River people and refers to the children of Tamakehu and the three major settlements. Hineng?kau of the upper river, Tama ?poko of the middle, and T?poho of the lower Whanganui. Throughout time, custodianship of the river has been passed down to the descendants of these three siblings.



European Influence


The arrival of European missionaries in the 1840s had an immense impact on the river. Steamboats started taking over the river as settlers used it for transport. Many locals began to convert to Christianity, and chapels began to dot the banks of the Whanganui River, many of which still stand today.



Becoming a Person


In more modern history, Whanganui made waves across the globe in 2017 by becoming the first river to be recognised as a person. As a result, the river can now be represented in court situations, treaty negotiations, and other disputes. Decisions that affect the Whanganui River must now recognise its health and well-being under its new legal status as a person.  Whanganui’s legal personhood is a landmark ruling, a hopeful step in the right direction concerning the way we view our natural world.



Experience the History of Whanganui First-hand


Every twist, turn, and rapid along the Whanganui River tells a story, peaking back into the past while offering a hopeful visage for the future of our natural world. If you want to learn first-hand what this river has to offer, a Whanganui River journey guided tour is the ideal way to do it. Book your trip back to the past with Canoe Safaris.