0800 BLAZIN or +64 21 991 564

Canoeing

Experience the Whanganui River the way it's been travelled for hundreds of years. Glide along the surface of calm, deep gorges and run exhilarating rapids in your own canoe. This unforgettable journey give you the chance to meet, and fall in love with our beautiful Te Awa Tupua, the first river in the world to be legally granted personhood, in 2017. 

Blazing Adventures offers a choice between Freedom Hire Canoe and full service Guided Canoe Tours. Our trips range from one day canoeing or kayaking adventures to the eight day, 225km Whole Whanganui expedition.

Freedom Hire

  • Free accommodation at River Rock Cottage the night before multi-day trips
  • Transport to and from river
  • Canoe and all safety gear provided
  • Safety briefing before departure
  • Secure flood lit vehicle storage
  • Hot shower, hot drinks, wifi at base on return
  • Vehicle relocation (extra cost)
  • Book and pay for your own DOC Huts/Campsites

The Whanganui is a grade one river and is suitable for most ages and those with no prior canoe experience. We will teach you how to keep yourself safe on the river and provide your group with quality equipment for all eventualities. 

Guided Tour

  • Free accommodation at River Rock Cottage the night before multi-day tours
  • Full service tour
  • Qualified guide
  • Fully catered
  • Camping gear provided
  • Camp/Hut fees included
  • Transport to and from river
  • Canoe and all safety gear provided
  • Guide carries extra safety & communications gear
  • Safety briefing before departure
  • Secure flood lit vehicle storage
  • Hot shower, hot drinks, wifi at base on return
  • Vehicle relocation (extra cost)
  • Canoe only - no kayaks

As almost the entire length of the river is out of mobile coverage, all groups travel with a Personal Locator Beacon in case of emergency. We’ve built a reputation for providing the best gear and transport, arriving early and getting you on the way home much quicker than other operators.  

Our normal canoeing season is from 1st October to 1st May with the busiest time being over the Christmas holiday period.

The Whanganui River Journey is the only one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’ where you’re not on your feet but paddling a canoe (or kayak) down river. 

Our dedicated team at Blazing Adventures (Blazing Paddles Ltd.) have many years of expertise in helping customers from around the world experience this remote wilderness.  

Our service includes: Complimentary door-to-river transfer shuttle service, Free accommodation for multi-day trips the night before departure*, Secure flood lit vehicle storage, Hot showers on return to base, Canoe/Kayak, Paddles, Life Jackets, Storage Drums, Dry Bags, Bailer, Rope, River Maps, Safety Video and Briefing, Emergency Kit and Personal Locator Beacon.

Freedom Hire Canoeing Experiences

Splash'n Dash

Freedom Hire: $150pp +online booking fees    Guided Tour: $250pp
Taumarunui to Ohinepane  •  1 day (4-5 hours)  •  22km

One day - 45 rapids, this exhilarating adventure is a great way to experience the upper Whanganui River in a limited time-frame. Leaving from Cherry Grove, Taumarunui you’ll paddle 22km down to Ohinepane, with time for a muffin and a cuppa at Lauren’s Lavender Farm along the way.

Attractions: Lavender Farm

Power Paddle

Freedom Hire: $150pp +online booking fees    Guided Tour: $250pp
Piriaka Power Station to Taumarunui  •  1 day (4 hours approx)  •  12km
Kayaks only  •  Helmets recommended  •  Expect to get wet

One for the thrill seekers. Kayak from The Piriaka Power Station (near Blazing Adventures base) to Ngahuinga, Taumarunui. As our canoeing advisor says, kayaks are the race cars of the river compared to canoes which are big, slow buses. This trip is kayaks only, life jackets on at all times and helmets recommended. Be ready to get wet!
(Hot showers are available back at base.)

Stargazer

Freedom Hire: $250pp +online booking fees    Guided Tour: $750pp
Taumarunui to Whakahoro  •  2 days, 1 night  •  57km
Includes 1 night accommodation at River Rock Cottage the night prior to your departure*.

Paddle your way out of town, through farmland and into the wild! 100 rapids along the way will leave you ready for a good sleep at your choice of campsite. You'll marvel at how many stars you can see so far from electric lighting. This two-day paddle will take you from Cherry Grove, Taumarunui along 57 kms of the Whanganui River, past the stunning Ohura Falls to bush clad Whakahoro and the iconic Blue Duck Station.

Attractions: Lavender Farm, Ohura Falls, Blue Duck Cafe
Camp Recommendations: Poukaria for Freedom Hire, Nukunuku-Ercegs for Guided
Guided Trip departs Saturdays - pickup Sunday

Posh Paddle

Freedom Hire: $POApp +online booking fees    Guided Tour: $POApp
Ohinepane to Whakahoro  •  2 days, 1 night  •  35km  •  (min 4 people)
Includes comfortable glamping accommodation and homecooking at Posh Pioneers.
Includes 1 night accommodation at River Rock Cottage the night prior to your departure*.

A lesiurely paddle from Ohinepane or Nukunuku downstream to the idyllic Posh Pioneers. Friendly hosts Fritz and Heather will transport you by ATV to their off-grid boutique accommodation site, accessible only by river and surrounded by untouched bush and wildlife, including kiwi, native bats and glow worms. You’ll stay in a wonderfully comfortable shepherds’ hut and enjoy the luxury of hot showers, three course meal, great coffee and breakfast before continuing down the awa. The Whanganui River was the highway of the European pioneers and Maori before the remote King Country was connected to the rest of the country by rail and road. Along the beautiful river, with isolated bush and farms to either side and far from the busy modern world, you’ll feel like nothing has changed. Your river journey concludes at Whakahoro, site of the iconic Blue Duck Station, from which you can be driven back to Blazing Adventures base, or choose to have your car relocated and continue your travels south without delay.

Attractions: Ohura Falls, Posh Pioneers, Blue Duck Cafe/Station

Phone to Book   call us on 0800 252 946 to check availability.

Waka Whakahoro

Freedom Hire: $275pp +online booking fees    Guided Tour: $1000pp
Whakahoro to Pipiriki  •  3 days, 2 nights  •  108km
Includes 1 night accommodation at River Rock Cottage the night prior to your departure*.

Starting at Whakahoro, you’ll skip the town and countryside and plunge straight into pure wilderness! Journeying 88 kms through the beautiful Whanganui National Park, you’ll shoot the rapids and linger along mirror pools in deep green gorges. Enjoy a walk to the Bridge to Nowhere and learn how this arched concrete bridge ended up so far from any roads. Stay two nights at isolated campsites along the way. You’ll take your leave of the awa at the historic Maori settlement of Pipiriki.

Attractions: Lavender Farm, Ohura Falls, Blue Duck Cafe, Bridge To Nowhere
Hut/Camp Recommendations: 1st night John Coull, 2nd night Tieke
Guided Trip departs Mondays - pickup Wednesday

Oarsome Ohinepane

Freedom Hire: $275pp +online booking fees    Guided Tour: $1100pp
Ohinepane/Nukunuku to Pipiriki  •  4 days, 3 nights  •  123/118km
Includes 1 night accommodation at River Rock Cottage the night prior to your departure*.

Our most popular trip! This four-day paddle takes you from Ohinepane (or Nukunuku for Guided Tours) through the heart of the Whanganui National Park. 123km of fun rapids and tranquil deep green gorges cutting through untouched forest. When your arms are tired from paddling you'll enjoy chance to stretch your legs for a short walk to the Bridge to Nowhere and learn how this arched concrete bridge ended up so far from any roads. Stay three nights at your choice of isolated campsites or splash out for the first night at Posh Pioneers gorgeous shepherd’s huts with a delicious home-cooked dinner, breakfast and barista coffee. You'll take your leave of the awa at the historic Māori settlement of Pipiriki. Journey back to base by van, or choose to have your vehicle relocated so you can continue your travels south without delay.

Attractions: Lavender Farm, Ohura Falls, Blue Duck Cafe, Bridge To Nowhere
Hut/Camp Recommendations: 1st night Maharanui, 2nd night John Coull, 3rd night Tieke
Guided Trip departs Sundays - pickup Wednesday

Full Monty

Freedom Hire: $275pp +online booking fees    Guided Tour: $1300pp
Taumarunui to Pipiriki  •  5 days, 4 nights  •  145km
Includes 1 night accommodation at River Rock Cottage the night prior to your departure*.

Get away from it all with the ultimate in wilderness immersion. 145 kms of discovery, running exhilarating rapids, gently floating along deep, mirrored gorges, enjoying the simplicity and starlight of true Kiwi camping, far from the modern world. Stay three nights at your choice of isolated campsites or splash out for the first night at Posh Pioneers gorgeous shepherd’s huts with a delicious home-cooked dinner, breakfast and barista coffee. Enjoy a walk to the Bridge to Nowhere and learn how this arched concrete bridge ended up so far from any roads. You’ll take your leave of the awa at the historic Maori settlement of Pipiriki.

Attractions: Lavender Farm, Ohura Falls, Blue Duck Cafe, Bridge To Nowhere
Hut/Camp Recommendations: 1st night Poukaria (Freedom Hire) or Nukunuku-Ercegs (Guided), 2nd night Maharanui or Mangapapa, 3rd night John Coull, 4th night Tieke
Guided Trip departs Saturdays - pickup Wednesday

The Whole Whanganui

Freedom Hire Only: POA
Taumarunui to Wanganui  •  Up to 8 days  •  225km
Includes 1 night accommodation at River Rock Cottage the night prior to your departure*.

Canoe the whole Whanganui River! 225 kms of discovery, running exhilarating rapids, gently floating along deep, mirrored gorges, enjoying the simplicity and starlight of true Kiwi camping, far from the modern world. Stay at your choice of isolated campsites or splash out for the first night at Posh Pioneer’s gorgeous shepherd’s huts with a delicious home-cooked dinner, breakfast and barista coffee. Enjoy a walk to the Bridge to Nowhere and learn how this arched concrete bridge ended up so far from any roads. There are lots of options for campsites along the Southern end of the awa, Whanganui River Adventures have camping and cabins in Pipiriki, further down is Jerusalem, then a campsite at Ranana, The Flying Fox, Koriniti, Downes Hut, Atene and Parekino. Continue through to the Top Ten Holiday Park at Wanganui township where you’ll need to time your exit with the tides.

Attractions: Lavender Farm, Ohura Falls, Blue Duck Cafe, Bridge To Nowhere, Jerusalem
Hut/Camp Recommendations: 1st night Poukaria, 2nd night Maharanui or Mangapapa, 3rd night John Coull, 4th night Tieke, for more see above.

Phone to Book   call us on 0800 252 946 to check availability.

* Accommodation is subject to availability. Minimums apply and discounts are available for large groups.

What you need to know

Please note - we won't leave our Freedom Hire paddlers stranded if you're late arriving at your destination and we won't charge you a late fee.

Prices are per person but for safety reasons there are a minimum of 2 paddlers required for any trip (higher minimums may apply for Guided Tours). Discounts available for large group bookings.

Accommodation choices along your journey include many campsites, Department of Conservation huts, lodges and glamping sites. More info below.

DOC campsite or hut fees are not included in Freedom Hire prices. These must be booked and paid for separately with the Department of Conservation (except for Guided Canoe Tours). Please click here to book.

What we provide at our Base: WiFi, Tea, Coffee, Showers, Toilet Facilities and Secure Flood Lit Vehicle Storage at our base.

What we provide for your journey: Transport to and from the River, Canoe/Kayak, Paddles, Life Jackets, Storage Drums, Dry Bags, Baler, Rope, River Maps, Safety Video and Briefing, Emergency Kit and Personal Locator Beacon. 

Guided Tours are also provided with camping equipment - Aussie style single swags and 50mm self inflating mattresses, tours are fully catered and your guide will carry extra safety and communications gear.

What you need to bring: See the Equipment List here.

What you need to do before you arrive: Watch our Safety Video below.

Safety Video

Vehicle Relocation

We can transport your vehicle from our Piriaka base to your final destination saving you up to 5 hours of travel time if you are continuing your journey south.

From our Piriaka base to:
Ohinepane $150
Whakahoro $175
Pipiriki $200

Great Hikes App

We strongly recommend all canoeists download the Great Hikes App to their mobile phone.  This will allow you to see where you are in real time, using the GPS in your phone, even where there's no mobile coverage (that's most of the Whanganui River).  www.greathikesapp.com

Accommodation on the Whanganui River

Department of Conservation Huts and Campsites

There are only Department of Conservation campsites on the Taumarunui to Whakahoro section of the Whanganui River, with the John Coull Hut and Tieke Marae being supplemented by campsites. There is a hut at Whakahoro, but it is sleeping only, with separate cooking shelters outside. John Coull Hut has gas rings to cook on, but canoeists must take their own pots, plates and eating utensils. There is a campsite approximately every two hours after Ohinepane, each having a shelter that serves as a water catcher, and a toilet. Each campsite has storage for about 5000 litres of fresh water that does not need purifying. 

It is not possible to freedom camp beside the Whanganui River. DOC hut and campsite bookings must be made before going on the river. It is now possible to book a bed in the DOC huts and at the Tieke Marae. Freedom Hire customers, we request you make your own DOC bookings online.

Posh Pioneers

We highly recommend the accommodation and exclusive experience of Posh Pioneers, located right next to the Maharanui campsite just north of Whakahoro. Posh Pioneers is a unique off the grid boutique accommodation experience hosted by the lovely Heather and Fritz Bonk. A stay here will provide some unforgettable memories

Blue Duck Lodge

You can also book into the private Whio Lodge or Steele’s Shearing Quarters at Blue Duck Station in Whakahoro. Be aware there is quite a hike to bring your gear up from the river at the end of a long day paddling.

Private Campsites

The private Ramanui Campsite opposite Tieke Marae has a 6-bed hut, or campsites. The hut can be booked directly with the Bridge to Nowhere Lodge at 0800 480 308 or by email.

Further Downstream

From Pipiriki onwards you can organise your campsites as you go with a variety of options available, Whanganui River Adventures have Camping and cabins in Pipiriki, further down is Jerusalem, then a campsite at Ranana, The Flying Fox, Koriniti, Downes Hut, Atene, Parekino and finishing at the Top 10 Holiday Park in Whanganui.

Ohinepane Campsite

Ohinepane Campsite
Whakahoro Campsite

Whakahoro Campsite
Posh Pioneers

Posh Pioneers
Posh Pioneers

Posh Pioneers

NOW AVAILABLE - order Go Native Ready to Eat Meals through Blazing Adventures.  

Delicious, ready to eat casseroles and curries. Not dehydrated, heat our ready to eat casseroles and curries in the pouch for 2 minutes in boiling water.  Freeze-dried meals don't come close to these homestyle hearty meals. 

Meal Pouches $12 ea
Instant Rice/Mashed Potato $3.50 ea

River Conditions

The best idea is to call us on 0800 252 946 for an update on expected conditions before you leave home.

Check the river levels at Te MairePipiriki, and Whanganui Town BridgeWhanganui tidal info available also.
The Whanganui River is considered unsafe for canoeing when the Levels are above 1.5m at Te Maire and above 3.5m at Pipiriki.  Extreme care should also be exercised when the river is high and the weather forecast is indicating rain in the Whanganui River headwaters.

Your safety is important to us and we reserve the absolute right to not allow passengers to travel when we consider the river conditions or weather forecasts are unfavourable, or for any other reason, at our sole discretion. In the event that we consider the river to be unsafe for canoeing, we will offer an alternative date or fully refund any deposit or other payment made. If we consider the river to be safe for your trip and you choose not to go, we reserve the right to keep any deposit or payment made.