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Whanganui National Park

Whanganui Journey (Great Walk Paddle)

Route I Paddled88 km

Route I Paddled
88 km

April 12 – 14, 2013

To give my feet some rest and enjoy time on a river, I canoed three days of the Whanganui Journey from Whakahoro to Pipiriki with a Canadian with which I had been traveling. The river was low due to New Zealand’s drought, so we had to exert some energy paddling and not just relax on an easy a float, but the trip down river was still great. None of the river was overly technically difficult but was still harder than expected for a trip with Great Walk status. The river was very beautiful, with many sheer rock walls covered in native ferns. Paddling on a river with native New Zealand flora, which was so different than what I was used to seeing along a river, made the trip special. Although the river was mostly clear and clean, a few pieces of trash and tires were on the banks, and I had to resist my instinct to extract them from the mud and throw them into our boat.

Unfortunately at the tail end of the season, the air and water were a bit too chilly to be able to enjoy swimming in the river much, and we had to do our best to stay dry in the canoe. We did almost swamp the boat once though. We dragged our boat upstream to rerun a rapid we liked the first time through, but on the second attempt we semi-intentionally hit the bigger waves more directly, which resulted in quite a bit of water resting in the bottom of our boat. Our gunwales were only a couple inches above the river by the time we steered clear of the rapids, but we nursed our craft to shore while barely keeping it upright before bailing her out. Adding a little excitement to a river float is always fun though.

The Whanganui River
The sun setting over the river
One of the many goats along the Whanganui River
Steep cliffs with vegetation growing all over them
Our canoe riding very low in the water after a lot of water entered inside while riding through waves