If you have clients heading to New Zealand’s northern island who
are searching for a unique way to explore the country’s pristine
wilderness, an afternoon of jet-boating will fit the bill. Bridge
to Nowhere Tours offer several different excursions that allow
clients to experience the picturesque Whanganui River. It’s a great
group activity that accommodates most age groups, and passengers
range from the most timid to the highly adventurous.
After an hour’s ride to Pipiriki down a small winding highway,
you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into the land that time forgot.
The majestic hills are covered with dense green brush, and tall
trees that first appear as palms, on second glance, are actually
huge towering ferns. My party made their way down to the dock where
I donned a light wind and waterproof jacket, an essential item for
this trip in the colder months. There, our guide fitted each
passenger with a life jacket, we boarded the boat and were off.
The boat glided effortlessly over the still reflective waters of
the Whanganui; on either side, stood expansive fern-covered cliffs
that gave way to deep caves hiding breathtaking waterfalls. I sat
awestruck at the beauty of my serine environment.
Along the journey, our guide and driver stopped and shared some
of the local history, legends and pointed out sites, like the
famous Drop Scene, the Dress Circle, Sulphur Springs, Mangaio Gorge
and the Manganui-O-Te-Au River.
The boat docked at Mangapurua Landing, once the home of a Maori
tribe. There, my group basked in the amazing scenery as we walked
to the historic “Bridge to Nowhere” gateway to the “Valley of
Abandoned Dreams.” On the bridge we enjoyed complimentary
tea/coffee and biscuits. Passengers can also pack a picnic lunch
and dine as they listen to the guide tell of the historic
Mangapurua Valley and its pioneering people. Afterward, a brief
return walk to the boat and ride back down river, punctuated by a
couple of adrenaline-pumping 360s on the way to Pipiriki, completes
If you are arranging a large group, take advantage of the lunch
option at the Bridge to Nowhere Lodge. This remote property sits
high on the banks of the river giving an exquisite view for all to
feast their eyes on.
Tours depart from Pipiriki daily during the winter months and
twice daily during summer.