THE WHANGANUI RIVER

The Whanganui River winds its way from the mountains to Wanganui City by the Tasman Sea. It flows through countless hills and valleys. Lowland forest surrounds the river in its middle and lower reaches, forming the heart of the Whanganui National Park.

History

The early Maori cultivated the sheltered terraces and built elaborate eel weirs along river channels where eels and lamprey were trapped on their, migration up river. Every bend of the river had a kaitiaki (guardian) which controlled the mauri (life force) of that place.

The mana (prestige) of a settlement depended upon the way in which food supplies and living areas were looked after for the benefit of the hapu/tribe and visitors.

The first major European influence arrived with missionaries in the 1840s. In 1891 a regular river-boat service began carrying passengers, mail and freight to the European settlers on the river between Taumarunui and Pipiriki and a thriving tourist trade soon began between Mt Ruapehu and Wanganui. The main riverboat trade ceased in the 1920s, due to better roads, a main trunk railway and other tourist attractions, although river-boats were still operating in the late 1950s.

Natural History

The land surrounding the river is formed of soft sandstone and mudstone (papa) from the ocean-bed, it has been eroded by water to form sharp ridges, deep gorges, sheer papa cliffs and waterfalls. Over this land has grown a broadleaf-podocarp forest of rata, rewarewa, rimu, tawa, kamahi and kowhai with breech dominant on ridge tops. Tree ferns and plants that cling to the steep river banks are very distinctive. Bird species such as kereru (native pigeon), tiwaiwaka (fantail), tui, toutouwai (robin), riroriro (grey warbler), miromiro (tomtit) and the bellbird are often seen and heard.

The call of the brown kiwi can often be heard at night.
Long tailed bats are often seen high above the trees at dusk in some areas of the park.

How to get to us

Parking

Free day parking is available at our base
Secure overnight parking $10
Please take all valuables with you.

Bookings are Essential

Notes

Canoeing for children under 7 years of age is at the discretion of Bridge to Nowhere.
Please contact us to discuss.

Our Tours

Jet Boat Tours

Join Joe or Ben on one of our fantastic Bridge to Nowhere - Jet Boat Tours
Most
Popular Tour

Jet Boat & Canoe Tours

Jet BoatTour - plus Canoeing (unguided) Express, Half and Full day Adventures available

Stay and Play Packages

Combine the Bridge to Nowhere jet boat tour with Canoeing on the Whanganui River and a stay at the Bridge to Nowhere Lodge or Campground.

Activities

Mountain Biking Bridge to Nowhere/Mangapurua Track

Ride Description and Day Trip Options

“If you only have the chance to do one adventure ride this year, this is the North Island’s best. There are several ways to tackle this ride. We really enjoyed the full round trip.” Simon, Jonathan and Paul Kennett

Mountain Biking Bridge to Nowhere/Mangapurua Track

Overnight & Canoeing Options

We offer a variety of packages for you to enjoy including shuttles, accommodation, jet boat transfers and canoeing...

Hiking and Tramping Mangapurua and Matemateaonga Tracks

Jet boat transfers accommodation and canoeing options for all trampers in the Whanganui National Park.

Accommodation

The Bridge to Nowhere Lodge

The Bridge to Nowhere Lodge is a unique place. Located deep in the Whanganui National Park wilderness region, we are the only Whanganui River accommodation of this kind in the area. Perched high above the river and surrounded by native bush the only access is by the lodge’s jet boat service, canoe, by foot or helicopter...

The Bridge to Nowhere Campground

Cabins
We are 9km or 1 1/2 hours paddling below the Mangapurua Landing where you probably stopped to walk into the Bridge to Nowhere. 4 Cabins with awesome THICK mattresses, picnic tables, cook house, bbq's and more...

The Bridge to Nowhere Campground

Tenting
The campground is about 100 meters up stream from our Bridge to Nowhere Lodge on the same side of the river, so if you are canoeing you will see it first.
Bar!
The campground was fully upgraded in 2014. Hot showers, Toilets, Glow worms, clothes lines and more...

Information

Terms & Conditions

Cancellation policies
Transfer service
Accommodation including meals
Accommodation only
and Tours

How to find us

Check out our maps section for details of how to get to us

About Us

Find out more about the Bridge to Nowhere family

The River

The Whanganui River winds its way from the mountains to Wanganui City by the Tasman Sea. It flows through countless hills and valleys. Lowland forest surrounds the river in its middle and lower reaches, forming the heart of the Whanganui National Park.