Arriving at Pipiriki we got on the jet boat for an 1hrs ride up the Whanganui River. The guide pointed out areas of interest such as how high the flood of 1904 got and where the film River Queen was filmed. Our guide said he regularly ferried actors and crew up the river in the jet boat.
We arrived at our destination for a 40 minute walk to The Bridge To Nowhere It was built across the deep Mangapurua Gorge to provide access to an area where the government was opening up land in 1917 for pioneering farmers, mainly soldiers who had returned from World War I. The intention was to build roads to it later, but the area proved to be so remote and unsuitable for farming that the venture failed and the farms reverted to native bush.
We then boarded our canoe for a 2 hour paddle down to The Lodge. This was great practice for the next day. The Lodge was in a beautiful setting with gorgeous views over the river. Our room had a balcony where we could sit and take in the spectacular scenery. After some cheese and crackers we had some dinner overlooking the river and then a relaxing evening. There are plenty of walks around the property and various animals such as horses, llamas, peacocks and an emu.
The next day we set off for our half day of canoeing down the river. There was hardly any traffic with only three jet boats speeding past us. There was only the noise of the birds and the odd bleat of a goat. At times we were surrounded on both sides by steep cliffs and beautiful waterfalls. We pulled up to a flat area to have our lunch and my husband explored the caves. There were a few rapids which were a bit scary but I was proud of myself for managing them. There was one that was a bit too violent which we avoided. The canoeing took us 5 hours and we arrived home exhausted and happy