Whanganui National Park: Places to go in Manawatu/Whanganui

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.


All drone use must be authorised by DOC

A concession is required to use a drone on conservation land

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 track difficulties
About hut categories


Brown and rainbow trout are found in the Whanganui River and its tributaries.

Heritage sightseeing

Historic bridge, grassy flats and old chimneys stacks. These, along with small stand of exotic trees which mark the sites of settlers homes are revealed to visitors in the Mangapurua and Kaiwhakauka valleys. Find out more about the Bridge to Nowhere and Mangapurua/Kaiwhakauka Track.

Kayaking and canoeing

The Whanganui is New Zealand's longest navigable river, canoeable for over 200 kilometres. There are huts and campsites along the river. Tieke Hut is run as a Marae (meeting house) by local Māori and traditional customs are observed.

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    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
    Email:   whanganui@doc.govt.nz
    Address:   34-36 Taupo Quay
    Whanganui 4500
    Full office details
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