The Flying Fox Whanganui: Eco-Friendly and Adventure on the River

The Flying Fox Whanganui is a quirky and blissful stay on the forested banks of the beautiful Whanganui River. This hidden gem offers earth-friendly accommodation, in an idyllic rural setting with access to canoe, hiking and biking adventures. Don’t miss the awesome list of adventurous things to do further on too…


The Flying Fox is named after the aerial cableway that carries you across the Whanganui River to a little Garden of Eden with eclectic handcrafted accommodation on offer including quirky and comfy cottages, a gypsy cart and glamping.

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  • Type: Holiday Cottages, Glamping, Camping for all budgets
  • Price: $-$$
  • Best for: Canoe and Stay Option, Remote Location, Gypsy Cart, Permaculture Gardens, Aerial Cableway
  • Guest Rating: Excellent
  • Location: 3081 Whanganui River Road, Whanganui, New Zealand
  • Book:

Whanganui River:

The Whanganui River is the third longest river in New Zealand and is an important river for Māori. Traditionally they lived in kainga (villages) on the river banks and travelled upstream to reach their central North Island iwi (tribes). The river was also settled very early on by colonists looking for fertile farming land and became a major trading route between local Māori and Colonists. (Source)

Today the river forms part of the Whanganui National Park and is a historically and ecologically area of significance. The Flying Fox sits at the heart of the park and from here you can explore this beautiful park by kayaking, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking and jet boating. (Source)

How to get to The Flying Fox:

Travellers usually arrive by canoe or car or bike. The owners aren’t always in residence so make sure you book your accommodation in advance. If you’re on a canoe trip you may not have phone or internet reception on the river so book before your trip.

The drive is about 42kms from Whanganui. The final 30 kilometres takes you through thick native forest to The Flying Fox parking spot across the river. From here you bring your bags and meet the owners for the fun trip in the aerial cableway aka the Flying Fox. For mountain bikers there’s a secure hold for your bikes. Tip: you must arrive on time to meet the owners.

Flying Fox New Zealand

Choice of Accommodation:

Once you arrive at this slice of paradise you’ll see the charming accommodation nestled in the forest and gardens with the occasional sheep and deer wondering through.

  • The Gypsy Cart – a combo of Romany Gypsy Cart and Glamping Tent near the river.
  • Bellbird Glamping – fun accommodation for two.
  • Ruru Lodge – available for 4 to 7 guests. December to Easter only.
  • Koru Campsite – for canoeists, walkers, mountain bikers and guests who want to bring their own tent.
  • The James K. Cottage – named after New Zealand writer, James K Baxter, who spent time down the river. Library and comfy accommodation with a fully-equipped kitchen for 2 to 6 guests. A pot-belly stove keeps the place warm.
  • The Riverboat Cottage – originally a manuka beer brewery! Now a year-round cottage with a cosy woodburner.

The Flying Fox Whanganui follows sustainable ecological practices:

  • Solar panels
  • Composting toilets
  • On-site waste and water management
  • Environmentally responsible use of resources
  • Organic vegetable garden and organic fruit trees are grown using permaculture principals
  • The accommodation is hand-built and crafted from recycled and natural materials

Good to Know:

  • Breakfast and dinner can be ordered
  • A snack shop is open in summer
  • Kitchens are available for self-catering
  • Need to relax? Enjoy a peaceful soak in one of the bush baths!
  • The owners also run a holiday home (with spa pool) in Ohakune near the ski fields:

Best Time to Visit:

This is a four seasons accommodation option. The two cottages have fireplaces for warm winter retreats. In those winter months, July, July, August, you’ll experience more rainy days. The kayaking season runs from October to April. December and January bring more people to the river but the weather is warm. February and March are warmer but the river may be lower.

Drone’s View of The Flying Fox Whanganui:

Adventure Anyone at The Flying Fox – New Zealand?

Popular with weekenders, walkers, cyclists and canoeists, The Flying Fox is halfway between Pipiriki and Whanganui – see map. Although. you’re not far from Whanganui Township you’ll feel deep in remote forest. There’s popular walking and biking tracks nearby:

  • Atene Skyline Track (Department of Conservation Information). 6-8 hour track with amazing views.
  • The Mountain to Sea Cycle Trail (official website) for a ride through the Tongariro volcanoes, river, forest and coast.
  • The spectactular Te Araroa Walkway journeys through the Whanganui River where you can stop off at The Flying Fox or you can choose to hike a part of the walkway. This great walk starts in the north at Cape Reinga and finishes in the deep south in Bluff (offical website).

Want some Adventure on the River?

Flying Fox & Canoe Adventure: A highlight is choosing one of the accommodation and canoe adventures. Very affordable prices too. The two-night adventure includes the flying fox over the river, 2 nights in one of the cottages or gypsy cart, breakfast and packed lunch and a thrilling canoe trip on the river.

Other Canoe and Kayak Tour Operators: Taumarunui Canoe Hire & Jet Boat Tours, Whanganui Scenic Experience Jet, Whanganui River Adventures.

The Upshot:

The Flying Fox Whanganui is an enchanting rustic stay on the banks of the atmospheric Whanganui River. A popular stop for adventurous travellers, romantic weekends and peaceful retreats. Click here to book on their website.

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