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.