See Do Experience
I am the river, the river is me
E rere kau mai te Āwanui, Mai i te Kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa. Kō au te Āwa, kō te Āwa kō au.
Whanganui rewards those who take the time to venture outside of the city. With options to travel by foot, bike or canoe, there’s a perfect journey for every adventurer.
The Whanganui Journey is one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, though there’s not much walking involved: you’ll be paddling your way 145km down the Whanganui River.
Read our guide on the Whanganui River Journey.
Te Araroa is New Zealand’s Trail, a 3000km route stretching from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The Whanganui portion of the trail takes walkers on a trek through the Whanganui National Park to the Whanganui River, then down the Awa by canoe, followed by a walk or cycle down the Whanganui River Road to the city.
Why go slow? Early settlers had to take their time, but we can get to the heart of the Whanganui National Park at exhilarating speed thanks to several jet boat operators based on the Whanganui River Road. From the landing, it’s a short walk to the famous Bridge to Nowhere – opened in 1936 for a doomed settlement of returned WW1 servicemen (the story is as drama-filled as it sounds. You’ll hear all about it on your tour).
Mountains to Sea – Ngā Ara Tūhono is one of the longest and most diverse cycle trails in New Zealand. The full trail takes three to five days to complete and stretches from the mountains of Tongariro National Park to Castlecliff Beach in Whanganui.
Cycling the River Road from Pīpīriki to Whanganui takes about 7.5 hours, depending on your choice of stops. The route takes you past important cultural and historical sites, including marae/Māori meeting houses, villages, the Kawana Flour Mill as well as natural features like Omorehu Waterfall and the Oyster Cliffs
There are so many great opportunities for exploring the Whanganui district on foot or by bicycle.
The Waitahinga Trails are shaded by native forest canopy and feature picnic areas and lookouts along the way. On a clear day, there are great views of Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu. The emerald Waitahinga Dam, built in 1904, is a worthwhile destination.
About a 40-minute drive from town, this 6 to 8 hour round trip takes in some steep climbs, with views of the Whanganui National Park as a reward. Don’t have a full day to spare? You can visit the lookout point with a two-hour round-trip.
The only way to these 35.5- and 40-kilometre tramping tracks or Grade-3 and 4 cycle trails (part of the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail). These tracks take 2 – 3 days to walk or 1 day to cycle.
Hike deep into the wilderness of the Whanganui National Park. This 3-5 day tramp follows an abandoned roading project between Taranaki and the Whanganui River. Be sure to pre-arrange transport by jetboat or canoe for the river end of the track.