Conservation Department staff have been working hard to get Whanganui facilities ready for the summer season - but can't yet open the Mangapurua Track.

However the Whanganui Journey, paddling the Whanganui River, will be open from October 1. There were no big floods on the river last winter, but preparing facilities still takes a lot of work, supervisor senior recreation and historic ranger Jim Campbell said.

Staff have devoted large parts of August and September to preparations. The barge they borrowed from the Bay of Islands has been helpful, Campbell said, saving two hours' flying time.

It will be returned to the north in three weeks, and can continue to be used, provided river depth at Pipiriki stays at 1.5m or more.


Parts of the Mangapurua Track, used by cyclists and trampers, have been closed since June, when it got too wet. It's really a dry weather track, Campbell said.

A 71-year-old cyclist died after falling off one of its bluffs in March.

Since then the track has had an independent Geotech survey. It can't open again until DOC has the resulting safety review - but Campbell hopes it will be back in use by Christmas.

Safety barriers will be erected at some places before that.

The most-used section from the Mangapurua Landing to the Bridge to Nowhere is open.

DOC staff want people who love the outdoors to embrace the essence of the Whanganui Journey this season. They will be focused on making sure whānau and manuhiri (visitors) using the tracks and river are safe.

"We hope our visitors will travel safely through this beautiful part of the world," Campbell said.