Papaiti Walkway, WHANGANUI

You’d be forgiven for not having heard of Papaiti, a little semi-rural suburb in Whanganui, but it has been really been put on the map recently (well, at least for those of us who live here). It’s making a little name for itself as a gin tasting pit-stop on the Mountain to Sea bike trail.

Papaiti Gin is our fave new little distillery. For our 7th wedding anniversary we did one of there gin making workshops (book in here) and made our “Copper” gin (a lovely blend of lavender, rosemary, kawakawa, and citrus that reminds us of our home garden).

Track Facts:

  • This walk starts and ends at the Aramoho Cemetery, with the turn around point being Papaiti Gin in the Upokongaro township. (Or the Upokongaro Bridge)
  • The walk is 7.2km and it took us a little under 1.5hours
  • This is an easy walk on a great pathway and we were able to easily push our pram the entire way.
  • Kid friendly (if they can walk that far) and would be a good biking/scooter option

Getting there:

Aramoho Cemetery is located on the northern (city) side of the Whanganui River and is a short 12minute drive from the cities centre. We parked on Flemington Road, the first left after the cemetery, but you could park anywhere near the cemetery really.

Alternatively, you could make the walk shorter (by just turning around when you want) and starting at the other end, in Upokongaro. Upokongaro is on the other side of the river, and is about a 15minute drive from Whanganui.

The track:

This is a great little walkway just out of the city that follows the Whanganui River. The walk we did on this day is just a little section of the Mountain to Sea cycleway that goes from Mt Ruapehu to Castlecliff Beach. It has been on my to-do list to bike from Castlecliff to Upokongaro since the bridge opened up, so it was fun to walk this section.

I’m more of a loop-or one way kinda gal, but sometimes it’s better to just bite the bullet and turn around and go back when the logistics are too annoying. You could do this walk one way if you can convince someone to pick you up at the other end (or grab a taxi). But honestly this walk was actually kinda nice doing both ways since the view does change, and it’s nice to walk both against and with the river flow.

Anyway, the walkway is pretty simple to follow and roughly follows the road. You need to cross the road once, and cars do drive fast out this way, so be careful (the spot for crossing has great visibility though).

There’s a great little section that seems like a great little place to walk your dog. It’s a bit further off the road and there’s a sweet little monument, that I think is a memorial to someone’s fury mate?

Ok, let’s talk about the Upokongaro bridge. This is a cycle/walking bridge and is honestly so beautiful and will, I think, become iconic to Whanganui. It is a 130m long suspension bridge and has had a bit of a rough (and infamous) history getting to its spot.

From 2018 to the end of 2020 the bridge sat in a nearby paddock awaiting consent to be out over the river. The consultation process for the bridge was made more complex than expected by Te Awa Tupua (the Whanganui River Settlement) Act of 2017, when the river was granted legal personhood. Eventually though, the bridge was opened and the rest is history. (I’m sure there were a million meetings and just as many opinions to get us to that point)

We enjoyed this lovely walk, it was so peaceful and full of quiet, rural landscapes and views of the river. Hopefully we will be back on our bikes one day!!

Happy hiking



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