This 90km or 125km, five day family, friendly adventure launches from either Ohinepane or Whakahoro, depending on river conditions, on the edge of Whanganui National Park in New Zealand's north island.
After a night at a lodge in Ohakune, families depart on a river adventure involving five days of paddling, river rapids, caves, walks, picnics, camping, swimming and visits to breath-taking natural and historical sites in the area – a packed itinerary planned to keep even the most active of families entertained.
Day one. Depart Ohakune between 7.30 and 8.00am for the river. At Ohinepane unload canoes and barrels and learn how to pack your canoe before launching into your expedition. After lunch at Poukaria Campsite, paddle past the old riverboat landing at Kirikau and take a short walk at MaraeKowhai to see the Ohura falls and the War and Peace Poles that were erected by the Hau Hau warriors. Finally there is a short paddle to the first nights camp at Maharanui.
Day Two. The gorge starts to narrow and the adventure leaves the last road access point behind at Whakahoro. Pass Laceys and Wades landings and several old maori Kaianga. Later in the morning the trip passes Mangapapa campsite, Man of War Bluff, Kirikiriroa where the river does a huge horseshoe turn, the Veranda. On down to Tamatea's Cave and a possible lunch stop at Ohauora campsite. There is plenty of time for stops and there are safe places to get out and swim en-route. Camp at John Coull Hut and campsite.
Day Three. After breakfast the team are on the river by 9am and there is a morning paddle past the Tangarakau and Whangamomona rivers, Mangawaiiti campsite, and Otumangu Landing – one of the post WW1 faming settlements. Shortly afterwards pass the first pine trees (planted by the early settlers), and stop at the Mangapurua for lunch and a walk to the ‘Bridge to Nowhere' (45 min each way). Dinner and hot showers finish the day at the lodge.
Day Four. After a leisurely breakfast there is a walk to the Matemateonga track and up to the Puketotara hut and the stunning view across to Mt Ruapehu. After returning to the lodge the expedition is back on the river for a short paddle until lunch. One hours paddle after lunch through the steep gorge until the river cascades through Ngaporo rapid and down to Ngaporo–the final campsite. There is a big eddy to swim in or a short paddle across the river to a waterfall for a cold shower! Finish the day with dinner overlooking the river.
Day Five. After breakfast, paddle past the Mangaio stream and Mangaio rock where several of the early eyebolts can still be seen that were winching points for the riverboats. Next it's the Pururoto caves and then Autapu rapid. From Autapu there are several small rapids before the Paparoa rapids swings the canoes past the old eel traps and down to the landing at Pipiriki and the end of the journey.
Prices for this unforgettable family river expedition start from £520 per person based on four sharing, including a five day Whanganui Canoe Safari and accommodation the night before and after the canoe adventure. Not including flights.
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