Canoe Safaris has guided thousands of happy customers on canoe and rafting trips over our 40 years in operation, and we love to show off the Whanganui River. Known as the Rhine of New Zealand, the Whanganui offers stunning scenery in the heart of the North Island, much of it all only accessible via water. With our experienced and friendly guides, you will be in for an exciting and entertaining adventure away from it all.
History of Canoe Safaris Whanganui River Journey
The Whanganui River has been a vitally important waterway since the Maori first came to New Zealand. The Whanganui River originates high on Mt. Tongariro as an alpine stream and also gathers water from Mt. Ngauruhoe and Mt. Ruapehu, before descending off the Volcanic Central Plateau. Many of our trips on the river will take you through stretches almost inaccessible from land.
Along its route, it collects water from 7,382km2 of watershed. Here are a few notable bits of the Whanganui’s history:
- The river was one of the most densely populated areas of the country by the Maori. As legend has it, Tamatea, the explorer of lands was a leader and among the first to explore up the Whanganui and across to Lake Taupo. Many place names along the river honour his name.
- The mouth of the river became an important trading post with Europeans. As more settlers came, the river was the main route to the interior of the North Island, even with its many rapids and white water stretches.
- The use of the river for transportation died down with the coming of the North Island Main trunk railway that finally linked the Capital Wellington with Auckland. There were attempts to open the area for farmland, but they were largely unsuccessful. A relic of this attempt is the Bridge to Nowhere in the Mangapurua valley which can be seen on all of our tours excepting the shorter, upper Whanganui section tours
Make the Most of Your Whanganui River Guided Tours
Given the popularity of the Whanganui River, it can be busy at times. Planning and booking your trip early will ensure that we have space for you, especially over the holiday periods and long weekends. Follow these tips for your river adventure:
- We offer trips for experienced and inexperienced paddlers. With the amount of white water on the river, some trips can be a little bumpy. If you have inexperienced or young paddlers in your group, we have easier options.
- Make sure to read our list of things to bring. There will be times when you will have to step into the shallows, so sandshoes or others that will not slip off are important. We do not advise wearing cotton, while wool or polypropylene clothes are perfect.
- Our guided tours include tents, cooking gear, sleeping mats and food, but you will need to bring your own sleeping bags. We do not hire out tents and cookers for those choosing to hire our canoes instead of taking a guided tour.
About the People at Canoe Safaris
Founded in 1979, we have offered many safe, fun-filled river holidays. Company Owner, Philip Collins has worked in Tourism on four continents over 16 years, long ago passing the 1,000 days paddling milestone and been guiding trips on the Whanganui River NZ since 2012. All our guides are fully trained professionals who have experience on rivers all over the world. We take safety seriously and ensure that we train our staff in first aid/CPR. Most of our guides have further qualifications in Swiftwater Rescue, Canoe instruction and guiding risk management, weather reading and more. If you are interested in a fun and safe guided
whanganui tour then in our opinion, we are the only choice, contact us today.