Our Whanganui river adventure
A canoeing trip down the Whanganui River is an unforgettable experience, writes Mandy Joachim & Jonathan Love.
The Whanganui River is not only one of New Zealand’s top 10 Great Walks, but also part of the trail which leads its hikers from the far north to the deepest south of New Zealand.
After deciding to walk the river, we chose Taumarunui Canoe Hire and Jet Boat Tours because we had heard great feedback about Ron, Karen and their family run business.
When we arrived at the company's base, we were meet an energetic young boy. He saw us driving up and ran to our car as we parked next to a large blue jet boat ready to set out on an afternoon spin. He told us his name was David and took us to the office.
Inside, Karen welcomed us and gave us paperwork to fill out while we sat in the briefing room, which had amazing views of Mount Hikurangi and the Whanganui River.
We were also shown where we could freedom camp on a spot just down from the company's base.
We decided to pack the afternoon before our journey so got our barrels and drybags from Samuel and went off to camp. The next morning, we were welcomed into the safety briefing by Karen and Rosalie ( Karen and Ron’s only daughter and 5 sons are involved in the business in some way). They asked everyone what hot drink we would like: cappuccino, latte, long black or tea. It tasted superb.
At the briefing, Ron described the rapids we would encounter, where to enter, how to read the water and what to do while you are in them. Most of the tips were common sense and Ron had us laughing a lot. We learnt how to handle rocks and what to do if you fall in the water.
Next Jono showed us parts of the river on the video, the bigger rapids and all the camp sites where everyone was staying.
After packing our gear, Karen fitted us with life jackets while Jono, Justin and Samuel loaded our gear to the trailer. After a short bumpy ride to the boat ramp below their house, we saw a line of red canoes next to the water.