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Scenic Train in New Zealand

Whanganui River - the Longest Navigable River in New Zealand

The Whanganui River is a major river in the North Island of New Zealand. The Whanganui River begins at Mt Tongariro, travels through the Whanganui National Park and returns to sea at Wanganui City.

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Canoeing safari on the Whanganui River, Wanganui, New Zealand
Canoeing Safari Whanganui River
Wanganui, New Zealand
Photographer: Ian Trafford
(www.iantraffordphotos.com)
Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Whanganui River, Wanganui, New Zealand
Whanganui River
Wanganui, New Zealand
Photographer: Ben Crawford
(www.bencrawford.co.nz)

With a length of 290 kilometres, the Whanganui River is the third-longest river, and the longest navigable river, in New Zealand.

The upper reaches of the Whanganui River are cloaked in dense rainforest and lead to deeply incised gorges. Tree ferns and rare native plants cling to the steep riverbanks.

From dawn, morning mist clings to the surface of the water, rising slowly with the light of day.

Until recent times, the Whanganui River was the main route into the North Island interior. It has a fascinating and exciting history of wars, steamboats, water-driven flour mills and abandoned homes and farms.

The Whanganui River's Course

Whanganui River begins its course in the volcanic plateau of the central North Island, at Mt Tongariro. The river then travels north towards Taumarunui, then turns and heads south towards Wanganui.

Along its path to the sea, the Whanganui River passes through the dramatic landscape of the Whanganui National Park. This beautiful, dramatic landscape opens out in the lower reaches of the Whanganui River as the river follows lush, rolling farmland and open valleys to the coastal dunes and cliffs which border the Tasman Sea.

Whanganui River Activities

Whanganui River activities include:

  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Canoeing, kayaking
  • Jet boating, jet skiing
  • White water rafting
  • Riverside walks
  • Ride the Whanganui River Paddle Steamer
  • Swimming

The Whanganui River passes through the stunning Whanganui River National Park, which offers its own set of activities:

  • Visit Pipiriki Village
  • Visit historical sites
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Hunting

» Whanganui River Travel Directory

» Ruapehu Regional Information

» Wanganui Regional Information

» Ruapehu Travel Directory

» Wanganui Travel Directory

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