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“scenic river trips”
Review of Whanganui River

Whanganui River
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Half-Day Whanganui Sightseeing Tour
Ranked #3 of 31 things to do in Whanganui
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed 17 April 2014

wanganui river is a very scenic place you can go by the paddle steamer or you can also go further up by jet boat or take the drive up thru the parapara's i'm not a 100% sure if they still do guided tours thru the gentle annie on the old river road, you would have to ask at the wanganui information centre.
I haven't filled the bottom questions out as i live in wanganui.

Thank Tony M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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150 - 154 of 235 reviews

Reviewed 16 April 2014

On the 'Waimarie', the Whanganui River steamboat, the river experience is amazing. Beautiful scenery, the iconic steamboat and interesting historical titbits make the trip a memorable one. A 'must-do' for visitors to Wanganui.

Thank Janine_van_Blerk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2014

If you're looking for rugged beauty this is absolutely the place! It's a must-go if you're holidaying in NZ.

Thank Gemeos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2014

The River Road from Raetahi to Wanganui should be on everyones 'bucket list'. Don't go that way if you are in a hurry! If you don't mind windy roads - if you like great scenery with interesting historic places to see along the way - then this is for you.
The drive from Raetahi to Wanganui via the Parapara ranges will take you an hour. Going vis the River Road, allowing for some short stops to view things will take you two and a half hours. The road is now sealed the entire stretch.
You will pass through 'Jerusalem' the home of NZ's famous poet - James K Baxter - and you will see the convent and historic church, set up in 1883 when Mother Mary Joseph Aubert came out from France with her "sisters" to set up a missionary school for the Maori children. The Catholic Mission remains there to this day.
You will pass the Kawana Historic Flour mill and Millers Cottage. Built in 1854 Kawana was the longest operating and most successful of the flour mills that operated on the Whanganui River. It finally closed in 1912 and deteriorated before its full restoration in 1978.

2  Thank JocelynMaryFaith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2014

I decided on a guided trip down the river because at 53 I felt that I needed to accept the need for professional support and guidance. As preparation I had done several kayaking courses, and I would strongly recommend this for anyone thinking of kayaking the river. It’s worth noting that most people canoe the river using what are called “Canadian canoes””. These are quite wide-bottomed plastic boats, very robust with paddles. They are not particularly easy to move, and require a lot of effort to steer. I preferred the handier kayak, which is much faster and easier to operate. Most of the boats that go down the Wanganui river are canoes; kayaks are not so common.

I chose Yeti Tours from the website based on some very positive blogs. I’m afraid this article is not so positive. From the start, it was clear that Yeti has gear used to the point of breaking down and the organization was haphazard. Even on the bus going out gear was falling apart.

We had had the warmest summer for years – and then on the radio just before we left the forecast turned; heavy rains were now predicted. Regardless the trip had been booked and I was on our way.

Compared to similar trips I had done elsewhere the general standard of safety and care was quite poor. For example, there was no provision of a helmet for the kayaking, whereas during the kayak training I had done the provision of a helmet was mandatory. To be fair this wasn’t just confined to Yeti – there was a young woman who was also kayaking down the Wanganui in a kayak rented from another company and she also had no helmet. It may be that as far as kayaking is concerned none of the canoeing companies seem to take conventional river safety precautions with kayaks.

Apart from the guide and a friend of his, our team consisted of myself and two Germans – Andres, who was powerfully built and his girlfriend Stefi, who had boated down the Elbe; superbly competent people. When Andres dug his paddle in their canoe really moved, and there was no way that their boat would do anything other than stay on top of the river. So we were a strong team despite Yeti, and it carried us along.

We set off from a tributary to the Wanganui. In the first 15 minutes I rolled on the first set of rapids! I drifted down the river, which was lovely and warm, and got back into the kayak below the rapids. The first day was great. In the light rain the hills around the river were misty and green. The wind came up the river, but the current carried us down. The rapids were fun, and I paddled hard through them. The more I did of them, the more confident I became.
At lunchtime we went up a steep track to a shelter and encountered a herd of well-fed goats. They gazed at us; we gazed at them. They were cute, but I could not help thinking how much bush they must be eating in this erosion-prone landscape. We were to see quite a few goats on our trip all with absolutely no fear of people.

That night at the John Coull hut it rained hard. And harder. And it poured down. The water rose two metres and the river was officially in flood! The following day was the hardest for me personally. The wind funnels down the river, and in the afternoon was blowing quite strongly against us, and for much of the day there was a steady rain.

On the way we stopped off to see the Bridge to Nowhere at Mangapurua Landing. Part of the track is along the road that was built at the time, and you can see the bush steadily reclaiming what was quite a substantial track able to take small trucks. Everyone else has written about the bridge and the history – how it was ever thought that this land could be broken into to pastoral farming is beyond me.

This part of the river is the most scenic – huge rock bluffs, very Lord of the Rings country. On the final day our guide rolled over! I paddled back along the side of the bank. Stefi and Andres had found a little nook in the side of the river, but could not get around the corner where our guide’s canoe had come to shore due to the large number of branches in the water. However there was a narrow channel and I kayaked through it round the other side. To my great relief both our guides were all right if a bit banged and bruised, and together we partially unloaded the canoe, righted it and then bailed it.

And then I had a lesson of my own. The canoe had gotten stuck on some rocks so I paddled round the back and helped push it off. The canoe shot away happily and I could see Stefi and Andres canoe move out into the river to join them. At this moment I realized I had navigated myself away from the little channel that I had come upriver on and now my kayak was sitting in the middle of a tangle of branches and rocks. Getting out of the kayak was perilous – I could easily break a leg – and getting back would be diabolical. The other two canoes were already out of sight, and clearly there would nobody else coming down the river at this time as we would now be the last people on the river to arrive at Pipiriki. Very carefully I pushed and pulled with my paddle moving the kayak and and forth steadily freeing it from the muck. After about ten minutes I carefully eased myself out into the river and then paddled furiously. As it was after a quarter of an hour I was able to catch up with the others and we all landed together at Pipiriki. And that was the finish to that adventure!

Some points to note: take a credit card or cash with you. I had naively thought that all costs were paid for the tour company but this was not the case, and I ended up having to borrow some money at the last minute. And Yeti, you do need to tidy up your act.

4  Thank Peter F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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