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Whanganui National Park, the largest lowland native forest in the North Island, cloaks the impressive Whanganui River. After years of erosion, stunning gorges and v-shaped valleys adorned with native ferns and variations of podocarpus have emerged.

Throughout the forest there are a host of short and long walks; most popular is the ancient trail of the Matemateaonga Track which takes four to five days to complete.

Whanganui River

From its source at the base of the Tongariro Mountains the river flows into the Tasman Sea, creating the longest navigable waterway in New Zealand.

This great body of water was an important transport route for first the Māori and then the European settlers, but these days the sedate river is a popular place for kayakers to enjoy the peaceful forest fringe.

The Bridge to Nowhere

Bridge to Nowhere, Whanganui National ParkAn unusual feature of the Whanganui River region is the famous ‘Bridge to Nowhere’. In the early 1900s, settlers struggled for many years in an attempt to create viable farmland, and built an impressive bridge to connect the remote Mangapurua valley with the road.

However, their attempts failed, and the forest soon reclaimed the land and the track leading to the bridge. Today it remains as a testament to the determination of these first settlers.

Trips take you by road up to Pipiriki, then by jet boat up to Mangapurua Landing, accessible only from the river, where a guided walk through the lush native bush explores the ‘Valley of Abandoned Dreams’; home of the forsaken bridge.

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Map of Whanganui National Park

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