From the Coolest Little Capital in the World to Kapiti Island's rare song birds, follow
the road from Whanganui along the historic river to Jerusalem before taking
the longest commercial jetboat ride to the Bridge to Nowhere .
Saints, Sinners & an
Epic River Adventure
Day 1 Arrive Wellington and collect your rental car.
Proceed directly to your central city hotel
Free time to explore Wellington, christened by Lonely Planet as
the World’s Coolest Capital.
Overnight Wellington ( Breakfast included )
Day 2 Depart Wellington early to Paraparaumu to join your ferry
departure. On arrival you will be welcomed by one of Kapiti’s
expert guides and provided with an introduction to the next day
and a half. You can expect to see some of New Zealand’s most
beautiful and endangered birds up close and personal as you
share the space with the locals. Dinner is served prior to departing
on your guided walk through the bush to engage with the Little
Spotted Kiwi that live there. While no guarantees are given, with
over 1200 kiwis on the island the opportunity to see them in the
wild is very high.
Overnight Kapiti Island (Dinner, Bed & Breakfast - DBB)
Day 3 Wake up to the sound of birdsong and then make your way to
breakfast. The rest of the morning is free to enjoy the the island.
Lunch is provided prior to departing to the mainland.
1530 Depart Paraparaumu Beach to Wanganui. Estimate arrival in
Wanganui at 17h30.
Overnight Whanganui (B&B).
Day 4 Whanganui is a river city rich in Maori and European history. The
river was once the main route into the central North Island. The
city, with its historic precinct, is full of character buildings
including the old WRC (Whanganui Rowing Club) building, the first
architecturally built rowing club in NZ. This morning you will depart
on a river boat excursion on one of the original boats which plied the
middle reaches of the Wanganui. Launched in Nov 1904, the
MV Wairua was fully restored as a tourist vessel in Mar 2006.
Today you will travel up the Whanganui River to the settlement of
Upokongaro where a stop will be made for you to stroll around the
village and visit old St Mary's church. There is time to have lunch at
one of the two cafes (cost not included).
Total travel time is 3.5Hours including the 1 hour stop for lunch.
Return to Whanganui at approx 2:30pm
Rest of the afternoon free to explore Whanganui
Overnight Whanganui – Breakfast included
Day 5 Heading north from Whanganui, you will follow the slow, scenic
route along the Whanganui River road. This drive is steeped in
Maori and European history with river and forest landscapes.
You’ll pass pa, marae and sacred Maori sites as you follow the
road, some of it unsealed, to the settlement of Jerusalem. While
the more recent history of this village is associated with the
commune of the famous NZ poet, James K Baxter, its earlier
history is more spiritual through the works of the French nun
Mother Aubert and her community which was established here
and was revered by local Maori for their good works. There is so
much to see here from those early days of Maori and Christian
spirituality as well as the Bohemian life of the Baxter commune.
Continue on to Pipiriki and rejoin SH4 at Raetihi, National Park
and your next overnight stop in Taumarunui
Overnight Taumarunui B&B
Day 6 Early morning departure with Forgotten World Adventures on their
shuttle to the start of the rail line at Okahukura. Here you’ll board your
Rail Cart and set off on your journey through the Forgotten World.
Immerse yourself in the changing views of rolling hills, remote farmland
and native bush, and experience wildlife close to the tracks, as you travel
through tunnels and over bridges on this unique excursion.
Stop at Tokirima Station and enjoy a Ploughman’s lunch between your
adventures before taking the shuttle to the Ohinepane Landing on the
To say the next art of your adventure is just an informative Jet Boat journey
on the Whanganui River undersells what will likely be the highlight of your day.
You will thunder along at high speed and take in the awe-inspiring scenery
until you reach Cherry Grove's Taumaranui office.
If you want a slightly later start to your morning, it is possible to take this trip
in the reverse direction and start with the Jet boat at 1030 and finish with the
Overnight Taumarunui (DB&B.)
Day 7 Depart Taumarunui to the eco sanctuary at Maungatautari, now
known as Sanctuary Mountain and recently featured in the TV
documentary series Artefact.
En route stop near Waitomo and visit a new and altogether
different glow worm cave experience.
Overnight Maungatautari/Pukeatua on a Dinner Bed and
Day 8 Visit to the eco sanctuary on Sanctuary Mountain. This is a guided
walk through the forest at your own pace allowing you to enjoy
the tranquillity of the forest. The Sanctuary is predator free
due to the 16km of predator proof fencing which encircles the
mountain. There are opportunities to see the rare takahe and the
lowland native parrot the Kaka. For a special experience to join
the birds, climb to the top of the viewing tower which brings you
into the tree canopy.
After lunch take the time to do some of the walks along the
Waikato River or visit the historic Arapuni power station which
still generates power into the national grid today.
Overnight Maungatautari/Pukeatua on a Dinner, Bed and
Day 9 Depart Pukeatua for the 2h 10m drive to Auckland Airport in
time to return your car prior to checking in for your flight home.