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“Epic adventure on the Whanganui”
Review of Canoe Safaris

Canoe Safaris
Ranked #2 of 16 things to do in Ohakune
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Guided tours from 1 to 5 days in the Whanganui National Park. Suitable for all ages and all fitness levels. Family trips a speciality. Operating for 30 years. Easy paddling, short Walks, Maori and European history. Fantastic meals. Fully qualified guides and we are a licensed operator. Canoe and Kayak Hire is also available.
Reviewed 22 January 2017

We just finished a 5 day trip with Canoe Safaris that can be described as awesome, incredible, magical and wonderful! We were a group of eleven, ranging from ages 11-80, and everyone had a ball. Our guides, Chloe and Molly were OUTSTANDING and really made the trip perfect. The food was great and we felt very catered for with our coffee, food preferences, and 2 birthday celebrations all handled seamlessly. There is nothing like being at the Mangawaiiti campsite on day 2, lighting 80 candles on a cake supplied by our guides to celebrate a momentous birthday in complete style! That was sweet!
The camping equipment was perfect, and it was a nice change to stay in a cabin on night 3 at Ramanui, with a short walk to the Bridge to Nowhere lodge for a cold beer after a hot shower. The night at Jay's Puraroto Campground was magical with the roaring fire, hand created picnic tables and chairs, and the loo with a view (flush!). We even had a second birthday cake (with a few less candles) for the last night as well. The trip was very well organised and our guides were superb - with their river skills and knowledge, amazing attitudes, cooking skills and great senses of humour. While the river does provide some work in terms of paddling and hauling gear up to the campsites, the trip is very relaxing and a great way to get away from it all. We would highly recommend Canoe Safaris if you want a guided adventure.

3  Thank L_DTravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"day trip"
in 19 reviews
"whanganui river"
in 18 reviews
"first night"
in 5 reviews
"group of friends"
in 4 reviews
"food was great"
in 3 reviews
"food and wine"
in 3 reviews
"small group"
in 3 reviews
"dry bags"
in 2 reviews
"great walk"
in 4 reviews
"lock box"
in 2 reviews
"sleeping mats"
in 2 reviews
"guided adventure"
in 2 reviews
"life jackets"
in 2 reviews
"food provided"
in 2 reviews
"personal gear"
in 2 reviews
"an excellent guide"
in 2 reviews
"camp ground"
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Reviewed 22 January 2017 via mobile

Highly recommend this trip down the awa! Canoe Safaris were organised, helpful and had fabulous guides. Chloe and Molly made sure our trip was relaxing, fun and educational. The meals were great - we had plenty to eat and drink. Coincidentally had 2 birthdays on the river and cakes were even provided! Good tents and sleeping mats. Insect repellent is a must, as is sunscreen.

We went with a group of family and friends (aged 11 to 80). We were lucky with the weather - from clear sunshine to brief torrential rain. Wonderful experience living in the moment in a very beautiful environment.

2  Thank Odette M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2017

Canoeing down the Whanganui River is an amazingly breathtaking adventure, you can experience the tranquility of listening to the birdsongs and the sound of the river, letting the river guide your canoe while you relax on the slow moving sections, and also you can enjoy the adrenaline rush of shooting down the rapids. We had varied weather conditions on our trip, and we found that it is enjoyable both in the sunshine and the misty rain.

The major perk of this great walk is that you don't have to carry anything on your back, so as long as it fits in the waterproof barrels you can bring lots of yummy food and snacks, or comfortable bedding - whatever makes your day more enjoyable. However some of the campsites are located quite high up with steep/slightly challenging climbs - consider this when you have to haul lots of barrels up at the end of the day.

The canoe we hired from Canoe Safaris is great, the backrest we requested was extremely helpful. They're based in Ohakune which is nice and handy. Our one complaint was that we were the very last group to be picked up at the end. All the other operators arrived nice and early and their clients waited in the buses nice and dry with hot drinks and baking. We had to wait in the rain until our bus arrived when most other operators have already left. We got more wet from waiting for our pick up at the end than from being on the river. Also we had to help load the canoes and gear in the rain while groups with other operators waited in the dry comfort of their buses/shuttles.

Other than that Canoe Safaris was very professional. We felt our barrels were the optimum size for our things. The canoes were very comfortable and we were giving all the information we needed for our trip.

1  Thank SnowshoeRabbit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2017

3 day trip whakahoro to pipiriki
2 adults 2 children 12yrs and 9yrs

Impressions of Canoe Safaris
- excellent organisation
- Lucy was excellent guide, professional, tireless and able to cater to all personality types and abilities, great with kids including discussing sci fi books with 12yr old for ages
- obviously well respected by the camp ground owners as a professional outfit
- at least when we were on the water they seemed to be the only one doing guided trips, everyone else on freedom trips (more about that later)
- food excellent and plentiful, we would have been happy with far less variety but they differentiate themselves with catering
- can confirm other excellent reviews about canoe safaris

Impressions of the whanganui river
- we went at a busy time admittedly (between Christmas and new year)
- river was very busy especially camp grounds and major stops
- bridge to nowhere landing is farcical it's so bad won't be long before there is a serious injury there
- going at a busy time of year detracts a bit from any sense of isolation (if that's what you're after)
- the busier it gets the more likely someone is going to die or get badly injured we had to help a couple of Germans in upturned freedom boat who were panicking and didn't know what to do (life jackets not done up barrels not tied down properly etc)- you are much safer doing a guided trip in my opinion
- personally I think that as the trip gets more popular all trips will need to be guided

Tips
- short sleeved polypropylene top of quick drying shirt to paddle in
- don't forget to sunscreen front of thighs it was most common burnt are by my observation
- packing cells are fantastic to help keep a bit organised esp with kids
- daybag will get wet but useful anyway
- 3 day trip requires moderate fitness as quite long days paddling but still doable with kids remember though younger kids won't paddle much so person in that canoe will expend quite a bit more energy
- same distance for us if done over 4 or 5 days would have felt quite slow but if you prefer more relaxed pace and longer at campsites then go with that
- got a little cool at night need sleeping bag that goes down to 6 degrees or better
- good hat that covers ears and neck

Summary
If you can afford it go guided
Canoe safaris met and exceeded all expectations, highly recommended

5  Thank Rowan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 December 2016

We are just back from a 5 day trip down the river and had such a fabulous experience through Canoe Safaris that I thought I'd write my first trip advisor review! Checking in for our accommodation the night before was easy and it was great to pick up our barrels and figure out what to pack and what to leave behind. There was a decent amount of room and I was glad I had room for a (smallish) pillow as this turned out to be great to get decent sleeps along the way. Note, it's also worth taking a day pack that you don't mind getting wet as this can be tied next to your seat on the canoe and can hold things like a jacket, drink etc as you don't tend to be able to get in and out of your barrel until you get to your final destination each day. You do get a lock box too for things like sunscreen and so on, but I suggest taking a waterproof bag for your camera (or in my case I used my phone for photos so I definitely didn't want it wet). I also found taking a big rubbish bag for inside the barrel well worth it and having a few plastic bags or ziplock bags to help organise your stuff inside your barrel really helped make things easy. (I'm just throwing some tips out there as this is where I came to find out this stuff and some of this I did have to figure out as I went) I was also glad to have taken half a dozen pegs along.

As far as the trip goes, if you are wondering whether it's worth paying for a guided trip, I can only say 100 x yes! The 2 guides we had were fabulous and we would never have found what we did, or learned what we learned without their fabulous knowledge - thanks Wai and Lucy. The 5 day trip is pretty relaxed and we were able to stop when we wanted to along the way and choose what sights to go and take a closer look at. We would have missed so much without them. Also, it's a great way to meet others as we had such a fabulous group of 11 (including the guides) to get to know along the way.

The food was awesome - I suspect they stick to the same meals for each trip as they know what works... but why not! We had plenty of it, and allergies and preferences were happily catered for.

Each night's stop had it's own uniqueness to it - unfortunately the showers at the Bridge to Nowhere camp ground weren't working, but the cabins (as a change to tenting) were a nice breather and the walk up the hill to the bar was a nice option at that stop. But the highlight had to be the fourth night at Puraroto as Jay was such a fabulous host and it's really worth experiencing his set up and hospitality.

I have to say that the rapids were tamer than I thought, but one of our boats did capsize on day 1. The river levels were quite high though so I guess this can change from time to time.

Luckily we had pretty good weather but we did have one wet day which didn't dampen the enjoyment of the trip and in fact added to the whole experience. And doing the trip the week before Christmas was such a fabulous time out of the normal hustle and bustle of this time of the year that I can't recommend the whole experience highly enough.

I could tell that our guides were passionate about Canoe Safaris and I felt like we really had chosen the best company to book through for a top quality and professional experience.

2  Thank raeofsunshineNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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