We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“"Waimarie" paddlesteamer”
Review of Whanganui River

Whanganui River
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Half-Day Whanganui Sightseeing Tour
Ranked #3 of 31 things to do in Whanganui
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Melbourne, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
76 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“"Waimarie" paddlesteamer”
Reviewed February 5, 2013

A lovely outing on the paddlesteamer. Very relaxing and best way to see the river. One hour to Upokongaro, lunch and historic church, and then back again. The guys in the engine room welcome people to come down and have a chat and watch what they do. On the day I went there was a lovely singer entertaining us - I'm not sure if this is a regular thing.

Visited January 2013
Thank krudyard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

230 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Deservedly a 'Great Walk' (well paddle) with great side trips”
Reviewed January 27, 2013

Short of time and the weather not looking so great be did the 3 day river trip from Whakahoro to Pipiriki. We booked our 2 camp sites (John Coull & Tieke) on the DOC website the day before and then our canoe hire from Canoe safaris in Ohakune (mostly because they answered on our late booking).

It seemed the hire companies were all very similar and offered the same quality with about $10 difference in the pricing and some slight difference in pick up times at the end (later is better to give some exploration time). Although we didn't get given a copy (they forgot), the maps from canoe safaris looked great and noted all the good side trips. Not sure if the other companies have the same - worth asking in case they do.

Our first day was stunning and we we found some great side streams and canyons to explore, we were continually pulling up the canoe and climbing up some side canyon and there was plenty of time to do this. We also checked out some of the other camp sites, out of interest. The river moves at a good pace and the rapids are gentle (grade 1 or very very easy grade 2) so day 1 is pretty easy. We pulled up to our camp site about 5pm just before the rain. The people from the hut met us at the pull in point to take our camp site booking details and were super helpful. The camp site was nice but we have to admit the camp site after this (first one on day 2 - Mangawaiiti) was quite beautiful, though up a big hill. In hindsight it would have been worth the extra 1-2hr paddle on day 1.

The second day we again stopped a lot more, explored some stunning little inlets on the side - definitely worth the detours even when it meant paddling upstream after we missed them - and of course pulled into the bridge to nowhere walk. The inlet just before the first campground was particularly good. This place was packed with large groups that head up on the jet boats, there seemed to be about 50 or more people on the bridge when we arrived - but it is a nice a walk and good to stretch the legs. We got back in the boat and continued to our next campsite, exploring some more. We arrived at the tieki kainga campsite and marae about 5pm again, this time with beautiful sunshine. This was a great camp site and highly recommended.

The last day is the day with big drops and lots to see - great side streams, more canyons and the caves. We were amped up by some of the guides that were with other groups talking about 1m high standing waves and wanted to ensure we had plenty of time to have a couple of goes on these drops (because they sounded fun). We did the best sounding side trips but due to time didn't do them all - we should have. The caves were a highlight - what ever you do vist them, get out and walk right up to them. The first are mud caves that you can wade through, the second are amazing - a big powerful waterfall in the middle of the limestone cave emptying to a big, but cold, swimming hole - a must!!! Just after this was the start of the bid drops. The "drop zone" is no more really - it is very tame, the one after is the one everyone referred to as the big one - 50/50, referring to the chance of staying in your canoe. This has a standing wave of decent size in the middle but certainly not 1m or more - it is a moderate grade 2 if you go through the middle, the best line is through the middle and just to the right at the 'hole'. Obviously it is all dependant on level but it was supposed to be at it's toughest according to the hype. Oh well, a bit of fun none the less. We pressed on. The river settles after this and opens into farmland and the river slows. Just before the end is the real fun no one told us about - the rapid on the right is great fun - long and sustained with some good waves and some very fast eddies that spin you pretty quickly when your paddling partner stops paddling because you put them head on into a big wave... but we stayed upright although very full of water, got back into the main flow and continued through some more big waves to the pull out place - we were nearly 2 hours early, having left at 8am, we should have spent a bit more time exploring.

All in all it was a great trip and a definite highlight. We recommend anyone to do it and definitely suggest the self guided approach. Enjoy!

Visited December 2012
2 Thank joleema
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Wanganui River Jazz Cruise”
Reviewed January 27, 2013

I booked the 2 hour jazz cruise via the Waimarie Paddle Steamer website, a pre cruise BBQ was offered at 6 pm also, with payment on the day. The four of us arrived shortly before 6 pm and waited for the BBQ which was running late. When it appeared to be ready we took paper plates etc and prepared to start on the BBQ buffet but we were rebuffed by a grumpy old man who said they still weren't ready, so we took a look around the paddle steamer museum which is certainly worth it. On returning to the BBQ a fairly long queue had formed and when serving commenced and we made it to the front there was not much food left and nowhere to sit. I would certainly avoid the BBQ and eat elsewhere if I return. The paddle steamer trip itself was very good and so was the band, it's a good evening out and gets pretty lively with the band playing a variety of music well and there's a bar onboard. Sandwiches and warm savouries are passed around which helped fill the space left by the BBQ.

Visited January 2013
Thank PB777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
149 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Once billed as the Rhein of the Pacific now a unique National Park.”
Reviewed January 24, 2013

The Wanganui is a great river to canoe down (a five day liesurely trip), to take a fast jet boat trip up from the city or, better still, experience the past on either the restored paddle steamer, the Waimarie, or the ex Hatrick river boat, the Wairoa.

Visited January 2013
Thank peperi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Mystical and spiritual”
Reviewed January 6, 2013

I'm not a one for making too much effort to enjoy an environment - I like to sit back in comfort so going down the river was slightly beyond my normal activity range...but it was worth it in more ways than one. Staying at a couple of the marae enroute was fabulous because by the time you got there you appreciated the comfort warmth and scrumptious food. They say food always tastes nicer when you have to make an effort to get to it. I could have done with more experience in using a paddle, and I'd like to have done this when I was younger but for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to see Blue Teal ducks in their natural environment - well slip into a canoe and see for yourself, waterfalls, caverns, magical people in both their charm and hospitality...Yep I'd like to do it again but more than likely I will just dream about it.

Thank Redheaded2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Whanganui River also viewed

Whanganui, Manawatu-Wanganui Region
Whanganui, Manawatu-Wanganui Region
Whanganui, Manawatu-Wanganui Region
Whanganui, Manawatu-Wanganui Region

Been to Whanganui River? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing