And now for something completely different…

The night before departure sees me crouched in a shipping container on the rivers edge, cooking noodles and nervously listening to the thundering rain outside.  It’s so loud we can hardly hear each other speak.  Manu had decided to ‘test out’ his chosen boat in a huge lake forming on the grass in front of us, and my mind wonders at what this extra deluge of water will do to the river.  Raise the rapids by a grade or two?  Throw in a few extra logs too perhaps?

I needn’t have worried.  Our 234km paddle on the Whanganui River from Taumaranui to Whanganui turns out to be an amazing and exciting journey, and one of the highlights of my ‘walk’ so far.  Over six days we shoot around 200 rapids – some gentle bubblers, others requiring some aggressive paddling to get on the right line and stay there.  A couple of rapids have me digging deep with the paddle to stay upright as the bow plows through big troughs and peaks, and I can feel the weight of the water slamming into my chest.  Woohooo!…

The rapids are interspersed with plenty of quieter sections where you gently float with the current through steep sided gorges, covered in deep green moss and dripping with ferns.  Countless waterfalls burst through the foliage and rain down into the river.  Some are hidden from sight and its only the thundering noise of rushing water escaping from a lush crack in the rock that give away their presence.  Lumps of pumice floating in the water and black sand beaches give a hint to the volcanic past of this region.

The length of the journey and its remoteness gives you plenty of time to totally immerse yourself in nature and enjoy your surroundings.  
Add this one to your Bucket List people! 
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