Whanganui River Canoes

Frequently Asked Questions

Send us through an email, or fill out the enquiry form. Send through details such as the size of your group, number & ages of children, which trip you would like to do and dates. We will send relevant information through to you. Let us know that you would like to confirm and we will book you in. You can call and chat too if you think that will answer your questions more clearly. We now have an online booking system too. So if you want to save a bit of time, you can just head to the ‘book online now’ button. Please note, the Online booking system does charge a per person booking fee, so that it can operate.

Due to the different hazards on the trip, and swimming ability requirements our minimum age is 7. We like to have a good adult to child ratio—so instead of doing children’s pricing, we offer group discounts.

No, all accommodation along the river must be booked before we can confirm canoe hire. There are plenty of DOC campsites/huts, or even a couple of privately owned spots along the river.

We hire out double Canadian Canoes, Oldtown 169.
We also have single kayaks, mainly for solo paddlers or odd sized groups. We hire out sit on top kayaks, as they are more suitable for freedom hire, a helmet is not required and if you fall into the river you won’t get stuck.
We do have some sit in kayaks, but to book those you would need to share your paddling experience with us, and have the ability to get yourself out of tricky situations.

DOC Huts have mattresses, you need to bring your own sleeping bag etc. There are gas cookers during the Summer Season, but you need your own cooking equipment. There are long drop toilets, you need your own toilet paper. Please note, part of standard outdoor practice is to be prepared. Even if you have booked a hut, you will need to bring some sort of tent/shelter, just in case anything unexpected happens along your journey, and you can’t reach the hut. If you don’t have a tent, let us know and we can add tent hire to your booking.

No, bring plenty of water for your trip. DOC do have Rain water tanks at every campsite along the river – but they do recommend boiling or filtering water before drinking it.

For Freedom hire Groups we include a large barrel and a small barrel per person, so your canoe will have four barrels to store your gear. For guided groups we provide one large barrel per person. The large barrel is where you will store your clothing and sleeping bags, the small barrel is where you will store your food. We provide liner bags for the barrels. The barrels measure: Small – 260mm wide 460mm deep Large – 340mm wide 600mm deep

All of our trips include the shuttle to the river and back. Our shuttles leave by 8am each morning, and will be in Pipiriki to pick you up by 2pm.

Our canoe season runs from 1 October until the end of April. Each season is very different. It can be cold and rainy at any time of year, and it can be hot at different times too. Take into account who is in your group when booking. If they are a cold type of person, think about bringing wet suits in colder months. Think about the length of paddling each day, especially in the months when there is not so much daylight.

We are not surprised when people fall out of the canoe. We do offer a safety briefing, and paddling instruction, and information about what to do if you do fall out. You are wearing a life jacket so keep calm.

We usually require a minimum of two for a booking. If you are a solo paddler, you will need to find other paddlers to join you. Unfortunately with the recent number of last minute cancellations and changes to bookings we can no longer match solo paddlers with other groups.
We quite regularly have groups of 15-25 no problems. We have enough canoes for over 100 people. DOC capacity is the main issue with bigger groups, and also the bigger the group the more time it takes to get to your destination. Stopping to make sure everyone is still ok, and unpacking/repacking at lunch breaks takes a bit more time for bigger groups.

Doc do not allow hunting from the river trenches from October until April. We have found hunters paddling down the river near families with children can make them uncomfortable too so sorry we will not be able to help you with your hunting trip.

No, bring plenty of water for your trip. DOC do have Rain water tanks at every campsite along the river – but they do recommend boiling or filtering water before drinking it.

We keep an eye on the river levels through the Horizon’s website. If the river is above, or looks like it will go above 1.8 metres at Wades Landing, or 3.5 metres at Pipiriki we won’t put paddlers on the river. We can work with you to find other dates that you might be able to do the trip. If you have no other dates available we can refund payments already made. Please note, this is an outdoor trip. Book the trip expecting all types of weather, and pack with enough layers and equipment for all conditions. If the weather is just looking a little bit wet, but not like it is going to reach any cut off levels, refunds are at our discretion.