DAY 1 - Join your local guide as they deliver the mail up the Whanganui River Road. Stop to chat to locals and grab some morning tea. Visit some of our special places along the way.
Rich in history and culture, you will learn about local Iwi (tribe), Te Awa Tupua – their River of Sacred Power and why the river was vitally important for transport, food and spiritual wellbeing for local Māori. Hear stories of the early settlers and the paddle steamers that plied the river, deep into the interior of the Whanganui.
At Pipiriki, you will connect with river locals at Whanganui River Adventures. Ken, Josephine and their guides will whisk you up the awa, sharing more insights and stories along the way. The team have been navigating this river all their lives and their families for generations before.
The scenery through the river valley is spectacular and mystical. Along the way you are bound to spot canoeists making their way down the final sections of their Whanganui River Journey - NZ's only Great Walk on water.
On arrival at the Mangapurua Landing, you'll walk along the relatively flat track up the valley to the spectacular Bridge to Nowhere. A Bridge that stands testament to an ill-fated and some would suggest poorly planned post war farm settlement programme. Today it is host to regenerating ngahere (forest), birds and other wildlife. During the Summer you'll also surely see cyclists appearing out of the valley on their Mountains to Sea - Nga Ara Tūhono adventure.
The tour then includes Jet boat back down river 22kms and do an unguided 2 hours canoe or kayak (last 10 kms) back to Pipiriki stopping and exploring along the way. This is where your hosts Whanganui River Adventures and Pipiriki campground will accommodate you after your adventure.
Here you will stay in one of there cabins for a bit of relaxation surrounded by serene native bush and hearing the birds sing while your 2-course meal is being prepared. The following day is followed by a continental breakfast all set up for your cycle down the Whanganui River Road.
DAY 2 - Following the Whanganui River as it flows towards the sea, this peaceful road blends sublime scenery with a series of delightful heritage sites, both Māori and European. Starting at Pīpīriki – gateway to Whanganui National Park – this long but leisurely ride undulates through small settlements perched high above the mighty river. A beautiful marae, notable church and convent, charming old flour mill, and other special sights tell their stories.
Expect a warm welcome, a good night’s rest, and a quiet and relaxed atmosphere either at The Flying Fox or Rivertime both nestled on an idyllic spot on the riverbank of the scenic Whanganui River Road. Settle into your cottage or cabin accommodation and relax whilst a delicious two-course dinner is prepared for you. After a comfortable night’s sleep enjoy a healthy continental breakfast prior to departing with a fresh packed lunch.
Day 3 - A fitting finale to the Mountains to Sea - Nga Ara Tūhono. The trail winds beside the lower reaches of the Whanganui River and through the artful city of Whanganui before reaching the Tasman Sea. From Upokongaro village this flat, easy trail follows the river to Whanganui’s city limits where it continues on cycle paths, suburban streets, and pretty riverside boardwalk through the centre brimming with galleries, street art, cafes and more.
The final stretch heads through salt-tinged backstreets on its way to North Mole - Castlecliff – a moody, driftwood-strewn beach where this epic journey ends.