After leaving Whanganui Inlet, the road follows a valley, with the Mangarākau Swamp wetlands then the Paturau River on the left. There is a short walk around the wetlands at the small hamlet of Mangarakau. The swamp is one of the largest surviving wetlands in New Zealand and is gradually being further restored by the Friends of Mangarakau Inc.
But we were especially taken by the steep rocky valley sides and cliffs that marked much of the route, interspersed with grass and sheep. It is unusual in NZ to see such a clearly defined river-gouged valley.