Paddle the Whanganui River


New Zealand, North Island


When to Go

18-22 July, 2019

Fitness Level



inc flights from Aus

The Whanganui River is one of New Zealand’s ten Great Walks, and rightly so. Following its winding journey through the majestic wilderness of the north island’s south-west is an epic adventure. With its remote hills, bush-clad valleys and deep Maori history, this adventure is a three-day Voyage of Discovery from Whakahoro to Pipiriki (84km).

Taking on New Zealand’s winter is all part of the challenge as we navigate our Canadian canoes down the river – some days are cool and grey, others are clear with blue skies. It could be sunny, it could rain, it might even snow*! We ensure you stay as warm and dry as possible providing wetsuits for and secure watertight containers for your gear, and at the end of each day we overnight at cosy Department of Conservation huts where our team prepare fresh, locally sourced food (no rehydrated, tasteless scoff here). 

This Best Life Adventure includes international flights from Brisbane to Auckland**, minibus transport to and from the river, accommodation and food whilst on the expedition, canoe hire and all paddling gear including wetsuit. We depart from Australia on the Thursday morning, take on three days of wilderness paddling adventures, have a quick stop in Auckland on the way back, and arrive in Australia on the Monday night. 

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DAY 1 – JULY 18

Fly from Brisbane to Auckland, road trip south to Ohakune. 

DAY 2 – JULY 19

Passing waterfalls and whirlpools, we canoe the Whanganui River from Whakahoro to John Coull Hut (37km).

DAY 3 – JULY 20

Meander downstream past bush-covered hills and the mouths of other great rivers before stopping to visit the Bridge to Nowhere. Overnight in Tieke Kainga hut (29km).

DAY 4 – JULY 21

Paddle 21km through scenic gorges and onto our destination, Pipiriki for a late lunch. Celebration dinner at Ohakune.

DAY 5 – JULY 22

Road trip north to Auckland, a few hours in the city before catching our flight to Brisbane.

This itinerary is subject to change

The level of the river will dictate if it is safe to run this adventure. We will only be able to establish this on arrival in New Zealand. An alternative adventure will be found if levels are too high to safely navigate the Whanganui River.



  • Return international flights from Brisbane to New Zealand**
  • All transport from Auckland to Ohakune
  • Canoe hire, safety equipment and guide
  • All accommodation – two nights in Ohakune (4-berth) and two nights in Department of Conservation huts
  • All main meals and snacks from the afternoon of the 18th July until the lunch on 22nd July (inclusive)
  • All national park fees 


  • Travel Insurance 
  • Personal expenses/souvenirs/shopping/tips for the staff
  • Additional meals in restaurants, cafes etc, private entrance to museums and sights
  • Sleeping bag  

*Please note > this expedition takes place in NZ’s wet season, otherwise known as winter, so we are at the mercy of the elements and, if water levels are too high to safely get onto the river, we will switch to another river-based trip on another river. We will only be able to establish if this is likely to happen 24 hours before arriving at Ohakune, the start point of the trip.

**Please contact us if you wish to fly from another Australian destination, or beyond.