The Greenwood Guide to New Zealand

Wanganui and Manawatu

  • Immerse yourself in Whanganui National Park and its grade II major river. This key shipping route of the past is now an action zone for canoes, kayaks and jet boats while the park itself is crying out to be walked in.
  • Drive the Whanganui River road to Pipiriki. Try not to stop at every scenic photo opportunity or you may be some time.
  • Attach yourself to a piece of elastic, take a deep breath and launch yourself off Mokai Bridge. Gravity Canyon's extreme bungy jump and flying fox is found at the end of a brief, picturesque drive just south of Taihape.
  • Spend a leisurely morning or afternoon in Kimbolton. It's worth going there just for the drive. If you need extra incentive Hansen's CafĂ© and Bar awaits.
  • White-water raft at River Valley.

Whoa Nelly!

Rivers are classified or graded dependent on their rate of flow, turbulence and difficulty. Although this can vary if increased rainfall or a new obstacle (i.e. a tree has toppled into the water) alters the flow, you can still get a general idea of just how challenging your white-water experience will be from its grade.

Grade 1 - This river is as relaxed as they come. Any rapids are small, regular and pose little difficulty. You'd probably be okay sprawled on a lilo with a cocktail in hand (although don't test that theory. any unexpected obstacles in the water would still need to be negotiated).

Grade 2 - Still relatively laid-back and suitable for the more cautious of white-water babies. Waves stay below 1m and eddies and bends pose the odd challenge. This is a comfy ride with a bit of a kick.

Grade 3 - Okay, now things are hotting up. Broken waves and considerable obstacles make for a fun and thrilling water romp.

Grade 4 - Woo hoo! Hold onto your protective helmet people, we're going in! The water is now, most definitely white. Boiling eddies; drops and rocks make for serious buzz-worthy action.

Grade 5 - Whoa Nelly! Stomach churning, knuckles white, teeth gritted. determination is what's needed here. There are very few places in the world that raft novice groups on this grade, but it's the biggest adrenaline rush I've ever had. Gather your wits about you and expect a 'big swim' at some point.

Grade 6 - Unless you're hardened to the ways of the raft and paddle or the sensation of being in a washing-machine on maximum spin-cycle intrigues you, then forget it. You need some serious skills to even consider Grade 6. Virtually impossible to navigate in a raft and potentially deadly to swimmers. sound like fun? You should leave this one to the few extreme experts.

Bookmark and Share