Up the Whanganui River 2019
3-7 February 2019Download PDF Itinerary
Join us on this popular tour that offers many options to enjoy the Whanganui River in all its glory. The jetboat trip from Pipiriki includes for the more adventurous, a chance to take a gentle 40 minute guided walk to the well-known Bridge to Nowhere. For the less mobile in the group, you still get to enjoy the magnificent up river jetboat ride without the walk.
Sunday 03 February - Travelling to Tongariro
With an early start this morning from all areas we meet at a central destination enroute to enjoy our first cuppa of the tour.We have time to mix and mingle, catch up with old friends and welcome new ones, before travelling on to Taihape for our lunch stop (at our own expense) and a brief wander. Mid afternoon we arrive at our Chateau accommodation. Our hotel is nestled in NZ’s first National Park, gifted to the people of NZ by chief Te Heu Heu of the Tuwharetoa tribe, in 1887. The Tongariro National Park contains our three much loved volcanoes, Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngaruahoe. Weather permitting, we may have time this afternoon to take a drive up The Bruce Road to the ski field, and/or visit the Whakapapa Visitor Centre in the village - well worth it. Tonight we dine in.
Monday 04 February - The Bridge to Nowhere
This morning we journey across the seldom travelled Pipiriki-Raetihi Road to Pipiriki, the southern gateway to the Whanganui National Park..Our operator, Whanganui River Adventures welcomes us aboard as they share with us the history and stories of the river stops and of the early settlers in the Mangapurua Valley – and the story of the famous “Bridge to Nowhere”.
There are two river options offered today:
Option 1: jetboating upriver for 32kms through fern and flax cloaked gorges to the Mangapurua Landing. On arrival we are guided on a 40-minute walk to the “Bridge to Nowhere”. Here we enjoy a picnic lunch provided to everyone on arrival at Pipiriki together with a hot cuppa and biscuit (this one back-packed by our guides). We return from the bridge retracing our steps to meet up with our non-walkers before returning by jetboat back to Pipiriki.
Option 2: the same 32km jetboat ride with the rest of the group, but without the walk, stopping along the way at some of the historic and scenic points of interest where our tour guide provides full commentary with opportunities for photographs from the boat. The non-walkers are encouraged to bring something to do, as the group will return to Pipipiriki together once the walkers have completed their walk.
Tired but exhilarated we return to our Whakapapa accommodation, where we dine in once more.
Tuesday 05 February - Up the Whanganui River by Riverboat
This morning - weather permitting - we have an option (own cost) to ride the scenic chairlift up to the café on the mountain to enjoy a hot cuppa at NZ’s highest café, 2,000m above sea level.We then journey down SH4, known as the Paraparas, on our way to the River City to join Mr Hatrick’s Motor Vessel Wairua. Built at Poplar in London by Yarrow & Co, the Wairua (Spirit) joined the famous Hatrick and Co Whanganui River Steamer fleet in November 1904 and was a pioneer of river travel above Pipiriki. On arrival at Moutoa Quay we have time for a sandwich and hot drink (included) before boarding the MV Wairua. Faithfully restored to first class condition, on its journey upriver we enjoy a cuppa and sweet (included) at Upokongaro. There is also time to visit the historic Church of St Mary’s. On our return to Whanganui we check into our central city hotel with time to unwind before dining in-house tonight.
Wednesday 06 February - Up the Whanganui River by Coach
The Whanganui River road winds alongside the magnificent Whanganui River, bordered by farmland, rugged country and the native forest clad valleys of the Whanganui National Park.Today we travel this scenic stretch of road. The Whanganui River has great spiritual and historical significance to the people of the many communities that it borders. History abounds as we travel up river, with an opportunity to view the Kawana Flour Mill - one of several built in this valley last century. Our lunch stop today is at the Jerusalem Church Convent, a Catholic Mission established in the late 1800’s by the remarkable Mother Suzanne Aubert, and home of the Sisters of Compassion. The settlement of Jerusalem is also known for the 1970’s commune of the poet James K Baxter. Finally, we retrace our steps back via this scenic road to Whanganui. Tonight we dine in once more.
Thursday 07 February - Travelling Home
We spend a little further time exploring Whanganui, visiting the Bason Botanic Gardens and Virginia Lake and its adjacent Winter Gardens which offer a stunning display at any time of year.There is time for a last free wander of the River City with its museums and art galleries, and lunch (at our own expense) before heading back to Palmerston North where we farewell our fellow travellers who will be transferred back to their respective home addresses.
The cost of the tour includes
- Accommodation (twin share)
- All dinners, 2 course or buffet
- All breakfasts
- All coach travel
- Whanganui River Adventures guided jetboat from Pipiriki
- Historic Riverboat Cruise – Mr Hatrick’s Motor Vessel Wairua
- Visit to Jerusalem and a selection of historical sites on the Whanganui River Road
- Picnic lunches Days 2, 3, and 4