Wildlife

The Whanganui National Park is a naturalist’s paradise…

Whanganui RiverIf birds are your thing, there’s many different species, both native and introduced; and at least half dozen kinds of animals – most of them introduced. And to complete the “fish, fowl, animal” line up, native fish are joined by introduced species such as trout and salmon. And, who knows, perhaps there’s even a huia or two still flying around in the backblocks – they were said to be very secretive, but also good mimics, so maybe the tui or bellbird you hear singing in the treetops might be something even more special…

When it comes to plant life, the Whanganui River trench has more than 300 different kinds of plants, mosses and lichens; from majestic Rimu and Ratas, to delicate kidney ferns and green hooded orchids.

Check out the links below for more information about the fascinating flora and fauna that makes the Whanganui National Park such a wonderful place.

The birds of the Whanganui River

Birds of WanganuiMany of the birds live in the tree tops, so you may not see them, even though you can hear them sing – make sure you pack some binoculars into the day bag. However, if you listen carefully you can hear kiwis calling around the Ramanui campsite at night.

Listen to the sounds of the forest…
Check out the different birds you may see and hear…
Want to help protect our native birds?

Don’t let the animals get your goat…

Long tailed batOne of the special animals in the Whanganui National Park are the long tail bats that you will see flying at night around the John Coull site. Some of the introduced animals in the park have multiplied to pest proportions, including the possums and goats. Others like the mustelids (ferrets, weasels, stoats) are deadly to our native birdlife. DOC does what it can to control them.

Flying night visitors
The pesky possums

If you want to know more about what DOC is doing to control the pests and how it manages the Whanganui National Park overall, check out their Draft Management Plan by clicking here (Note 1.9 MB PDF file so it will be slow to download on dial up connections)

Beneath the river surface…

Banded KokapuThe Whanganui River has been a traditional source of food for tangata whenua since they first settled its banks. Europeans introduced trout and salmon with negative effects on the native fishery, but most species have survived, if in reduced numbers.

The following DOC website lists native fish, many of which are resident in the Whanganui River and its tributaries.

Facts about native fish

More about the flora…

Wanganui floraThe Whanganui National Park comprises many hundreds of thousands of hectares of unmodified lowland rain forest – which lines the banks on both sides for most of the section between Whakahoro and Ramanui. The following links will take you to websites that will help you identify many of our forest plants, but we recommend you consider buying a copy of Reed’s Field Guide to NZ Native Trees and take it with you on the river.

Pictures of our native forest beauties
Where to buy Reed’s Field Guide to NZ Native Trees