The Bridge to Nowhere

Departing from Taumarunui, skim through white water rapids before taking in the spectacular scenery of firstly rural farmland and then the native bush clad depths of the Whanganui National Park.



8 hours

Difficulty Level


Your destination, the Bridge to Nowhere.

Learn about the unique history of the Whanganui River, from early Maori settlement through to the introduction of steamboats and farming the land.

Deep in Whanganui National Park, is a bridge that some visit, but few have crossed. Beautiful in its decay, and almost eerily quiet. Except perhaps for native birdsong and the soft splash of water carving its course below.

Our Bridge to Nowhere tour departs from Taumarunui at the top of the Whanganui River.  Passing through rolling King Country farmland, we’ll head downstream and back in time, to an age of steamboats, pioneers and Māori villages.  Our jet boat’s destination?  The Mangaparua landing. 

We disembark from the jet boat at the Mangaparua landing and take an easy 3km (40-minute) walk through native bush to the abandoned ‘Bridge to Nowhere’. Here we’ll relax and revel in the isolation while hearing the history of this melancholy monument.   We can take a walk to the lookout to capture its lonely grandeur in photos before the return walk back to the boat.

We always stay alert for the chance to spy some New Zealand native birds – with tui, keruru (native pigeon), and the occasional shy Whio (blue duck) making appearances.

We return by jet boat, along the way stopping to enjoy the delectable picnic prepared by our team that morning. You'll be seeing the Whanganui River from a whole new direction as we return to Cherry Grove in Taumarunui where it’s, ‘so long, till next time’.


Important Information

Included in your Bridge to Nowhere tour

Jet Boat, Shuttles, lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments

We suggest you bring/wear:

  • Sunglasses

  • Camera (there will be great opportunities to use it!)

  • Binoculars

  • Water and extra snacks if required 

  • Windproof/rainproof jacket with hood even in fine weather

  • Dress in warm, fine layers (we love merino and cashmere)

  • Hat, scarf and gloves, sturdy footwear and warm socks you can walk in comfortably

  • Sturdy footwear with warm socks

  • Pack a rainproof coat and over-trousers

  • Any personal medication as required


  •  If you wish to see the "Bridge to Nowhere" you will need to be capable of walking 3km (40 min) on a well formed track each way.

Book The Bridge to Nowhere

Route Map

  • My wife and I went on the River and Rail Run and it was one of the best trips we have done. The rail run was something completely different from anything we're done before. All of the staff were great attending to our every need. Maree in particular was very knowledgeable and great fun too. I would definitely recommend this trip to everyone.

    Louis Lincoln, Spain

  • We booked as a surprise for our respective partners, the river and rail trip. From being greeted like lost friends at the front office by the girls to Alan on the jet-boat and Ray, Rob and Mitchell on the rail-carts and Vaughan on the bus, they have assembled an enthusiastic crew that made the day a pleasure wit their little quips, a great knowledge of the area and the scenery was second to none. A very professional setup that I would recommend to put on everyone's bucket list.

    B T Stiling

  • Fantastic day highly recommend to all! - We did the river and rail run and had a fabulous time learning the history and taking in the wonderful countryside along the way. The guides were excellent and all the staff were very friendly and informative. Had a great lunch set up after the jet boat ride to prepare us for the rail run.

    Willeson, Auckland

  • We've wanted to go on the railcarts for some time and a visit from my brother and sister in law was the perfect excuse. We were greeted my big smiles when we arrived at FWA HQ. Those smiles were on every staff members face as we came across them at different junctures of the trip. The railcart was easy to drive and to trip to Tokirima was fun, scenic and informative. Our guide, Ray, drew on his personal knowledge of the people and area to make our journey very personable - I felt connected. The jetboat ride had the usual jet boat thrills but the Wanganui River is a very different character to the Shotover or Waikato. She's an old lady with lots of history and stories - and rapids of course.

    Tim, Owhango

  • Relaxing, kiwi adventure. Great scenery, old relics and history. Informative friendly guide. Recommend it for family and friend groups. Close encounters with locals and animals and nature.

    Susan Bones