Whanganui River: 3 Day Canoe Tour 2018-06-19T11:00:47+00:00

The Whanganui River: 3 day Canoe Journey

Whakahoro to Pipiriki

This amazing canoe trip is designed for those who want to experience the Whanganui River, NZ Great-Walk by canoe.

The 3- or 4-day Whakahoro to Pipiriki section is the most popular for canoeing. From Whakahoro, the only access out of the river is by canoe. It is this remoteness and the forest filtered fresh-air that makes this trip and truly rejuvenating holiday. The Canadian canoes used on this river are well suited for the water, with gentle rapids and stretches of still water in the beautiful gorges. The canoes also hold plenty of gear. Bring your luxuries on these trips!

The Whanganui River is rich with Maori and European history. The greatest of which is the famous Bridge to Nowhere. Just like the early explorers, you will see the spectacular sheer gorges rising hundreds of metres to distant ridge. You may even hear a Kiwi calling while you relax under the stars.

Adrift provides qualified, experienced and personable guides whose sole purpose is to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable and memorable adventure.

Paddling downstream, you will travel through bush-clad hills, observe waterfalls, bask in spectacular sheer gorges, see some classic kiwi farmland, and experience the thrill of paddling rapids in your canoe.

There are many marvels and obstacles on the journey. Our guides will willingly offer their experience and anecdotes. Equally there are times where we will leave you to absorb the tranquility and solitude.

Whanganui River Adrift
Adrift 3 day canoe

Route Description

Day 1: Whakahoro to John Coull Hut
This day involves a 6-hour paddle to John Coull Hut passing. We will be passing Tamateas Cave at approximately the 4 hour mark.

Day 2: John Coull Hut to Tieke Marae
On day 2 we have a 5-hour paddle from John Coull Hut to Tieke Marae, stopping at the Bridge to Nowhere along the way (1.5 hour return walk).

Day 3: Tieke Marae to Pipiriki
It is a four-hour paddle to Pipiriki where we will be met by our transport which will take us back to the Adrift Tongariro base by 5:00 pm. We will
successfully negotiate the 3 largest rapids of the journey including the Ngaporo Rapid and the infamous Autapu Rapid.

Price Includes

Guide/s, transport between the Adrift Tongariro base and the river put in, Department of Conservation hut or camping passes, meals (vegetarian available on request at time of booking), nourishments and needs whilst on tour. Adrift Tongariro also provides all cooking, camping and canoe equipment (canoe, dry barrels for your gear, PFD’s, paddles, tents and sleeping mats).

Adrift Tongariro can hire gear for the trip if you do not have it, or if you need supplementary gear for the conditions. This can include sleeping bags and liners if you do not have them.

Pick up / Drop off from the Adrift Tongariro base

Tour starts and finishes at the Adrift Tongariro Base. Trip departures available summer only (1 October – 31 May) on application and confirmation.

Pick up: 9:00am
Drop off: 5:00pm

  • All times are approximate
  • Transport between the Adrift Tongariro base and the activity is included in the price.
  • All clients making their own way (self-drive) should meet at the Adrift Tongariro base in time for a 9am departure.
  • Your vehicle can be left at our base whilst we are canoeing

Gear List

Personal medications (e.g. Asthma Inhaler, blister protection etc), Sun hat, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Suntan lotion, covered sandals, shorts, light top, 2 warm top layers (wool,merino, thermals, fleece, soft shell etc. are good layers), waterproof raincoat, 1 set of spare warm clothing to change into at the end of the day including underwear 1 x spare warm top 1 x pair longs 2 pairs of socks, water bottle and sleeping bag. But please don’t bring too much.

Gear Hire

Adrift Tongariro has equipment for hire. This includes footwear and clothing to supplement anything you may not have, or have forgotten on the day. We can supply: boots, socks, thermal longs, fleece longs, waterproof pants, thermal tops, fleece tops, waterproof tops, warm gloves, warm hats, sun hats, sunglasses, backpacks, walking poles and sleeping bags and liners.


It is essential you phone the Adrift Tongariro base 48 hours prior to trip date to discuss exact timings. +64 7892 2751.

We like to meet you the evening prior to the trip at our base at approx 5.30pm to give you barrels to pack you gear into.