Raetihi – Your gateway to the Whanganui River
‘The Rhine of the South” was what the mighty Whanganui river was called back in the 19th century. Tourists came from the other side of the world to travel the river and explore it’s beauty, and that was even before air travel made getting to New Zealand easy and fast!
There are many faces of the Whanganui river, it passes through farmland and gorges, and has hundreds of named rapids. The major town and stopping point when river boats serviced the settlements was Pipiriki. A much quieter town today, Pipiriki is still a major hub of activity.
Jet boat operators run trips up to the Bridge to Nowhere, and most of the three and five day canoeists exit the river here. The boat ramp is very busy at times, just like in the past, (although you aren’t likely to see anyone loading a horse on to a boat nowadays!)
Pipiriki is only 25km from Raetihi, and it’s a lovely drive. Don’t forget to turn around when you get to the Waipuna Rd turnoff and look back at the view of the mountains. The road is pretty narrow and windy as you wind down from the 500+ metre altitude at Raetihi to the 30+metres at the river.
If it’s a hot day, take your togs and dive in when you get there, there are changing rooms and toilets on the corner of the road. After your swim you can carry on for another 15 minutes and be at Hiruharama (Jerusalem) where you can visit the old convent and St Joseph’s church, made famous by Mother Aubert and James K Baxter.
Activities & Operators on the Whanganui River
Spirit of the River Jet: Brent & Claire Firmin ph: 06 342 5572 e: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.spiritoftheriverjet.co.nz