Looking out over the Whanganui River

Image: Stefan Marks | Creative Commons


The Whanganui River winds its way from the mountains to the Tasman Sea through countless hills and valleys. Lowland forest surrounds the river in its middle and lower reaches - the heart of Whanganui National Park.


Tramping tracks through wild lowland forests and river trips down the mighty Whanganui are popular activities. The area has a unique history and Maori culture is an important part of the park experience.

Place overview


  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Walking and tramping

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Whanganui National Park

About this place

Getting there

The park is located in the central North Island with the township of Taumarunui to the north and Wanganui to the south. The small towns of Pipiriki, Ohinepane, and Whakahoro are main gateways to the river itself.

Roads lead into the park from all directions. Some give access to main track systems, others directly to the river. There are regular bus services to Taumarunui and Wanganui. A number of companies run on demand shuttles to the start of tracks and organise car shuttles for people canoeing the river.

Know before you go

If you are planning a trip down the river, make sure you are properly equipped.

Every one needs to take: a life-jacket, sleeping bag, waterproof clothing, warm woollen or pile clothing, changes of clothing and shoes, sufficient food and drink for the journey (plus an extra day's supply), sun-cream, sunglasses, sunhat and a warm hat. Equipment you will need as a group includes: cooking equipment , fuel, a lighter, first aid kit, plastic drums (or equivalent) for food and dry clothes, tents (spaces in huts may already be taken), a spare paddle, rope and string and spare plastic bags.

For further information purchase the 'Guide to the Whanganui River' published by the New Zealand Canoeing Association. It is available from good bookshops as well as local DOC offices for around $8.00 and gives all the information you need, detailed maps of each section of the river and descriptions of each rapid.


Whanganui Office
Phone:   +64 6 349 2100
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   whanganui@doc.govt.nz
Address:   34-36 Taupo Quay
Whanganui 4500
Postal Address:   Private Bag 3016
Whanganui 4540
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