Canoeing Down the Whanganui River


A majestic, beautiful and unique experience canoeing down the Whanganui (Wanganui?!) River, 145km in length. You can do this with a tour or you can plan your own journey; either way, it's a fun experience that will have you seeing some of the best sights of New Zealand.

Earlier in the year, my friends and I decided to embark on one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks” (although technically, it isn’t a walk, I know) and plan a three-day canoeing journey on the Whanganui River.

You can do a five-day trip or a three-day trip — the itinerary is up to you. We opted for a three-day trip, leaving from the canoe company we went with, which is based in Ohakune. And then our canoe trip started at Whakahoro, after we had loaded up our barrels with our gear…

The Raurimu Rex near Ohakune. Photos by linnykins
Photos by linnykins

There are camp sites along the way for you to rest for the night, so it is a great idea to bring a tent. Unless you are one of the lucky ones who manage to secure a spot at the huts, but there’s nothing quite like staying in a tent under the stars anyway. My group camped it out on our first night at Ohauora Campsite, which is about a 25km journey from our start point. It is a welcome stop after a day of getting used to canoeing, sore arms and navigating Grade 1 rapids!

Along the way, there are places of interest that you can stop at, including Tamatea Cove, The Bridge to Nowhere (literally a bridge to nowhere — unfortunately, I don’t have photos of this though) and waterfalls, muddy caves…

And stony banks all throughout the journey so that you can stop whenever you like, for lunch, sunbathe, swim or a rest!

Our second and last campsite was at the Tieke Kianga campsite, after a long day of canoeing to get there. You’re able to use the marae as sleeping quarters if you purchase a hut pass and book ahead, and there is also a 20-bed bunk room available for booking through the Department of Conservation.

Evenings and early mornings at the Tieke Kainga campsite. Photos by linnykins

So overall, a fantastic journey and one that I thoroughly recommend if you are into getting in touch with the outdoors. It’s a peaceful journey and you may find that you’re not the only ones on the river – we did ours over a long weekend and so it was quite busy. Bear in mind that the campsites require a little bit of uphill walking on the banks though, so you will have to haul your barrels containing your things up these (makes you feel like a pirate, arrr!!!).

We encountered the most fun rapids on our last day, just before our pick up spot at Pipiriki. Beware of capsizing but it’s all part of the fun and hopefully, you’ll be skilled at navigating rapids by that point. There are several companies that you can go with, which you can find through internet searches.

It is well worth the journey, and you will find that there’s nothing quite like having an immense stretch of river ahead of you, native trees on either side, and knowing that in this moment, it is just you, your canoe, and the river.

Useful links and references:

This is a link to Wikipedia - Whanganui Journey.

And this one, for track information and a guideline on what to bring from the Department of Conservation.

Canoe companies that you decide to go with will also provide plenty of information, tips and tricks.

written by linnykins on 2013-03-18 in #world #locations #locations #new-zealand #lomography #canoeing #select-type-of-location #adventure #escape-from-the-city #whanganui-river #camping #rapids


  1. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    Looks like a really great trip and a beautiful place. We're hoping to get to NZ next year. Would like to check this out as I love to canoe. Thanks.

  2. linnykins
    linnykins ·

    @bsdunek - Cool! I hope you enjoy your time in NZ :)

  3. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    Nice adventure for sure.

More Interesting Articles

  • Spice Up Your Lomo'Instant Snaps with a Cool Collage

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-15 in #gear #tipster
    Spice Up Your Lomo'Instant Snaps with a Cool Collage

    As you may have noticed, we love finding awesome ways to show off our Lomo'Instant snaps. That's why any time we come across a new and cool method, we just have to share it. Scroll down to see how you can display your instants in a beautiful collage style!

  • Getting ready for the Lomography workshop at Wilderness

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-08-08 in #events
    Getting ready for the Lomography workshop at Wilderness

    In 24 hours time Lomography UK will be heading out to the Oxfordshire countryside to deliver some special workshops from a tent at the Wilderness festival. It was so much fun last year so we thought we would share some of the best photos from 2013. See you there!

  • Awesome Albums: Californication by samajo17

    written by plasticpopsicle on 2014-05-25 in #news
    Awesome Albums: Californication by samajo17

    You can tell that someone had a fun and memorable road trip just by looking at his or her travel photos, and today's awesome album is a testament to that! If you're not yet planning for a summer road trip, you sure will be after flipping through the photos you'll find after the jump!

  • Shop News

    LC-A Iblazr Bundle

    LC-A Iblazr Bundle

    Start capturing images even in low-light conditions with this bundle you can create your own combination of LC-A camera and Iblazr flash. And save 20% off!

  • Celebrate Black Friday with 30 Beautiful Black & White Photos from the LC-A+

    written by jacobs on 2014-11-27 in #lifestyle
    Celebrate Black Friday with 30 Beautiful Black & White Photos from the LC-A+

    Do you know the best way to celebrate the biggest shopping day of the year? Stay at home and marvel at these gorgeous black and white photos from the legendary LC-A+! There's no reason to stand in line for hours either, when you can get incredible deals here at Lomography without ever leaving the comfort and warmth of your own home. Check out these radiant shots from the LC-A+ and then head over to the Online Shop to save a fantastic 30% on this incredible camera and more!

  • August 2014 Workshops and Events in Lomography Embassy Singapore

    written by lomographysg on 2014-07-30 in #events
    August 2014 Workshops and Events in Lomography Embassy Singapore

    This August, we bring you back to your roots and explore the wonders of nature! First, we cook up a storm with a film soup experiment. Followed by nature photowalks at beautiful scenic parks in Singapore to unearth the tips & tricks of trouble exposure, as well as the unique methods to perfect our macro shots. To cap off the learning month, we'll gather on a cozy Friday night for a new special sharing series by the Lomography Community -- with Sharing Session #1: Nature.

  • Handmade Cameras by Cedric Chatterley

    written by cheeo on 2014-12-05 in #lifestyle
    Handmade Cameras by Cedric Chatterley

    Shooting with film can be considered a labor of love. From carefully loading the film and adjusting for lighting conditions to the darkroom process, it’s a laborious process but certainly a fulfilling experience. What more if you created your own cameras?

  • Shop News

    Colorsplash your World!

    Colorsplash your World!

    At 30% off you can now color your analog images with 12 different color gels. Experiment with 35mm slide film and play with the built-in color flash for the most intense colors!

  • Take a Trip to Paris Photo in November with Shift and Lomography!

    written by efrost on 2014-10-09 in #competitions
    Take a Trip to Paris Photo in November with Shift and Lomography!

    Are you in need of a holiday? Then we have something spectacular for you from the Shift School of Photography and Lomography. With your photos you can win a four-day trip to Paris for a long weekend full of photography including a giant Lomography package! We want to see your best work displaying your travel destinations so we know that you can turn a weekend getaway into an artistic and educational trip!

  • 5 of the Best Ways to Share Your Lomo'Instant Pics

    written by jacobs on 2014-11-25 in #people #news
    5 of the Best Ways to Share Your Lomo'Instant Pics

    We love sharing photos! So, with the recent release of the beloved Lomo'Instant camera, we thought it would be a great idea to look at some of the best ways to share your instants with the world. Rather than letting them collect dust on a shelf or stay hidden away in a drawer somewhere, why not let everyone else in on your superb instant creations? Check out these 5 awesome ways you can do just that!

  • Diana F+ Part 1 The Camera: A Dozen of Possibilities

    written by dopa on 2014-06-27 in #reviews
    Diana F+  Part 1 The Camera: A Dozen of Possibilities

    The original Diana F is a plastic beauty from 1960s Hong Kong. The Diana F+ is a reinterpretation, which is in no way inferior to the old Diana. It´s so versatile with all the optional accessories and lenses like no other lomography camera. And because of this, I will show you what makes this camera so special.

  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • December 8th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today! (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-08 in #news
    December 8th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today!  (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    Do you know the best way to keep a Lomographer happy this holiday season? Load them up with tons of wonderful analogue films for their cameras! With today's awesome Advent deal, you can do it with a 10% discount as well. So head on over to our Online Shop and start the holidays off right.

  • The Wonderful Adventures of the Petzval Lens

    written by pripri2000 on 2015-04-23 in #people #news
    The Wonderful Adventures of the Petzval Lens

    As all you lomographers will know, since its re-inception we have been following the tracks of the Petzval Lens. Indeed, this bokeh-genius has been traveling far and wide, falling into the hands of many a photographer the world over. We decided to put together this little catalog of talented artists and their most enticing photographs, shot using the Petzval lens, so we can show you what wonders and mischief we have brought upon us. Come take a look at the outcome of the Petzval’s transnational journey.

  • Flying the Canon Flag with the Canon EOS-1N

    written by chilledvondub on 2014-08-26 in #reviews
    Flying the Canon Flag with the Canon EOS-1N

    Who do you think deserves the crown for the best 35mm SLR camera? Canon and Nikon will always be in a two-horse race to the top spot in the consumer to prosumer SLR/DSLR market, having developed reputations as two of the biggest go-to brands. Representing the Canon corner, I can safely say the Canon EOS-1N is by far the best SLR I have ever used.