Wildlife You’ll be Sharing Your Whanganui River Journey With

On our Whanganui River journey, you’ll paddle into the habitat of countless creatures that call the river their home. Discover what you may meet along the way.

When you embark on a Whanganui River journey, you're not just taking a scenic trip through one of the most picturesque places on Earth; you're entering a wildlife wonderland. The Whanganui River is not only a cultural and historical gem but also a thriving habitat for a diverse range of wildlife. Discover some of the animals you may encounter on your Whanganui River trip.


Birdlife of the Whanganui River

For those with a passion for birdwatching, Whanganui River offers an unparalleled experience. Along the river's winding course, you'll have the chance to spot a myriad of species, including the native Tui with its melodic calls, the bold and colourful Kingfisher, and the Pīwakawaka, or Fantail, which gracefully flits through the foliage.

Whanganui River's birdlife isn't just about sight; it's also about sound. The melodious songs of the Bellbirds and the haunting call of the Morepork create a symphony that resonates through the forested riverbanks.

Keep your eyes peeled, and you may even see a few of our rare birds in action on your Whanganui River journey.

Whio (Blue Duck)

At the heart of this avian paradise is the endangered Whio. These striking birds are known for their vibrant blue plumage and are a rare sight in the wild. They have adapted to life in fast-flowing rivers, making the Whanganui River a crucial habitat for survival. Blue Duck Station also known as Whakahoro is where you will start your three or four day Whanganui River Tour. The Team here have played a big part in the conservation of these great brids.

The Kiwi

As you embark down the river, watch for the elusive and iconic Kiwi bird. The Whanganui River region provides the perfect habitat for these flightless birds, allowing them to thrive in a lush, native forest. With a little luck and keen observation in the evening, you might spot this shy, nocturnal bird foraging for food along the riverbanks and through the bush. Most of our customers wake up talking about hearing a kiwi or two throughout the night.

Kotuku (White Heron)

The Kotuku is another remarkable bird that calls the river home. Its snowy-white plumage and graceful presence make it a symbol of beauty and grace. These elegant birds are often spotted in the wetlands along the riverbanks, engaging in stately courtship dances.


Aquatic Life of the Whanganui River

The Whanganui River isn't just a haven for avian wonders; it's also a thriving ecosystem for a diverse range of fish and marine life. In this section, we plunge beneath the shimmering surface to discover the aquatic wonders that make the river so unique.


At the forefront of this underwater spectacle is the Whitebait, a New Zealand delicacy. These tiny translucent fish are an integral part of the river's food chain and a symbol of its fertility. The locals have celebrated the Whitebait for generations, and it continues to be a cherished dish in New Zealand.

Longfin Eel

Diving deeper into the waters, you'll encounter the Longfin Eel, a prehistoric marvel that has inhabited the Whanganui River for centuries. These eels, with their ancient lineage, are a testament to the river's pristine and unspoiled nature. They can grow to impressive sizes, making them an awe-inspiring sight for snorkelers and divers.


For those with a passion for angling, the river offers abundant opportunities. Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout are among the prized catches for anglers, making the Whanganui River a fishing paradise. Their presence has also contributed to the unique balance of the river's ecosystem.


Protecting the Wildlife of the Whanganui River

Conservation plays a vital role in preserving the rich ecosystem of the Whanganui River, ensuring it remains a thriving haven for wildlife. As a visitor, your role is crucial in maintaining this delicate balance while on your Whanganui River journey. By respecting the river's environment and following ethical wildlife-watching practices, you can actively contribute to preserving this natural paradise.


It's essential to adhere to all regulations and guidelines set forth by local authorities and conservation organisations. These rules are in place to protect both the environment and the wildlife. Stay on designated paths, maintain a respectful distance from animals, and avoid feeding them, as human interference can disrupt their natural behaviours.


Ultimately, your role as a responsible visitor is to leave no trace. Take all your waste with you, minimise your ecological footprint, and appreciate the wilderness without negatively impacting it. In doing so, you become a steward of this remarkable environment, helping ensure its beauty and biodiversity remain intact for future generations to cherish.


Meet the Creates of the Whanganui with Canoe Safaris

The Whanganui River is more than just a waterway; it's a sanctuary for incredible wildlife. Your journey along the Whanganui River will be filled with awe-inspiring encounters, making it an unforgettable experience for nature lovers. 


Whether you're after a full 5-day adventure or a Two Day Bridge to Nowhere tour, embrace the beauty of New Zealand's wilderness and the creatures that call it home by booking a canoe trip with Canoe Safaris today. 

Posted by Canoe Safaris on November 28, 2023