On the West Coast of the North Island in New Zealand at the mouth of New Zealand’s historic Whanganui River, is Wanganui – renowned for culture, heritage, the Whanganui National Park and river adventures.
The rich history of Wanganui is displayed throughout the city centre – preserved heritage buildings on tree lined Victoria Avenue with gaslights, hanging baskets and kerbside gardens, cafes and English style pubs effectively creating Wanganui’s colourful colonial past.
Famous for its culture and arts with the Whanganui Regional Museum and Sargeant Art Gallery being amongst the best in New Zealand, immerse yourselves in the energetic and talented artistic community with galleries and studios of glass blowers, painters, sculptures, photographers, and arts and crafts.
The Whanganui River, one of New Zealand’s historic waterways is one of the longest navigable rivers in New Zealand. Experience a guided journey along the river and learn the legends and feel its many moods.
The River holds a special attraction for canoeists. With 239 named rapids it offers many challenges, but is still suitable for beginners.
On the banks of the Whanganui River you will find the Waimarie River Boat Centre and Museum. Restored to its former glory in 2000, Waimarie is New Zealand’s only authentic paddle steamer.Take one of the daily trips to the small settlement Upokongaro, 13 km up the River – experience a one of a kind scenic cruise of the Whanganui River!
Situated deep in the Whanganui National Park accessible by jet boat, follow the trail to the mysterious Bridge to Nowhere, built across the Mangapurua Gorge to give access to an isolated settlement – now only the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ remains. Capture the total peace and tranquillity as you step back in time.
There is plenty to entertain the children in Wanganui City, with Kowhai Park play ground a children’s favourite – the Splash Centre in Springvale Park, with a hydro slide & various pools in the indoor complex. Castlecliff Beach is only a short drive from the city centre to enjoy the sun, waves and sea breeze.
Virginia Lake and the Winter Gardens – a beautiful 25 minute woodland walk around the Lake’s edge, features the Statue of Tainui, a historic band rotunda, twin bridges, rose pergolas and a spectacular display from the coin operated fountain,
Visit the Winter Gardens – a show case of exotic colour blended with art decor, then take the children for a walk and feed the ducks, visit the bird aviary and enjoy a picnic with the free gas-fired bbqs and fenced in children’s play area.
River Traders Market – Saturday mornings from 9am With over a hundred stalls set up alongside the downtown Whanganui River, River Traders is fast becoming known as one of the best markets in New Zealand – browse more than 100 stalls full of local produce, arts and crafts. Grab some lunch or have a coffee on the boardwalk with views of the river.
A short walk across the Whanganui City Bridge is the Durie Hill Elevator. It is the only earthbound elevator in New Zealand (accessible by a pedestrian tunnel) and one of only two in the world. At the top experience the breathtaking views across Wanganui and the Tasman Sea.
Climb the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower near by, built of fossilised shell rock dated more than 2 million years old and on a clear day you’ll also see as far as Mount Taranaki and Mount Ruapehu!
Bason Botanical Gardens – only 11km from town, set in 25 hectares of beautifully landscaped rural gardens and native and exotic trees including a lake, and picnic areas. Visitors can drive or walk around the gardens, enjoy the lake and bird life as well as the botanic scenery and Gopperth Steps or try Frisbee Golf and the Red Kiwi Orientation Course, there are also three inspiring conservatories of Orchids , Begonias and Ferns.
Wanganui the River City, as the city slogan says… “Well worth the Journey”