We got ourselves "sorted" in the morning and were taken on a one hour bus ride over a dirt road to Whakahoro, the entry point to the three day Whanganui paddle.
I am not sure what I was expecting...a gentle float down the river with a sun parasol? Not so much! First thing we knew we were facing rapids that we had to negotiate! This was the first of about 60+ rapids which we were to negotiate (no I am not exaggerating!). This was combined with 88 kms (no I am not exaggerating) of hard canoe paddling interspersed with nights in camp grounds along the way. The scenery was beautiful! A deep gorge with sheer cliffs on either side with very dense trees and ferns covering them. We saw many caves and deep clefts with waterfalls in them. There were many ducks and cormorants sitting on the many trees that had been washed down the river. The sun was beating down making the trip warm and bright.
The rapids were both difficult and exhilarating and it was a hard slog...but after three days (and one dunking at a particularly violent set of rapids near the end) we made it to Pipiriki where we were met and taken back to our car. We were exhausted, but filled with a great sense of accomplishment! We were the old couple on the river, and made it back sooner than most of the younger folks...with, in some cases, less dunkings!