Whanganui Attractions

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Whanganui offers many opportunities to engage with New Zealand's fascinating past, thriving artistic communities and mystical, untouched landscapes.

Whanganui
Canoeing safari, Whanganui

By Ian Trafford

Canoeing safari on the Whanganui river

River enchantment

The Whanganui River is a place for adventurous expeditions of discovery and understanding. Elements of both Maori and early European history combine with modern day recreational adventure along the river's 260km journey to the sea.

The Whanganui River has deep spiritual, cultural and historical significance to Whanganui iwi (Maori tribes).

Enjoy the cultural perspective local Maori people bring to their unique guided river tours. Listen to their korero (stories) and learn about their local taonga (treasures). You can also choose to stay overnight at a river marae (traditional Maori village).
Visit the Whanganui Riverboat Centre which offers unique maritime heritage experiences through scheduled cruises and an informative museum.
Follow the Whanganui River Road for an insight into early Maori life, the influence of Christian missionaries and the fascinating history of the romantically-named settlements.
Canoe the river. There are self-guided and guided tours to suit everyone, ranging from one to six days. The five-day Whanganui River Journey, beginning in Taumarunui, is considered one of New Zealand's nine 'Great Walks' (even though it involves more paddling than walking!).
Ride a high-speed jet boat. It's an exhilarating way to visit the many natural wonders and historic sites, such as the Bridge to Nowhere, along the Whanganui River.

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New Zealand
The PS Waimarie., New Zealand

By Whanganui District Council

The PS Waimarie.

Historic Whanganui

  • Ride Whanganui's historic Durie Hill elevator. Built in 1919, it is one of only two earth-bound elevators in the world.
  • Climb the Memorial Tower on Durie Hill. Built from fossilised shell rock it offers sweeping views of the city, inland volcanic mountains and the Tasman Sea.
  • Follow the Heritage trails to discover Whanganui's oldest buildings.
  • Explore the Whanganui Regional Museum, recognised for its outstanding collection of Maori taonga (treasures) and Lindauer portraits of Maori people in the late 1800s.
  • Cruise on the PS Waimarie, New Zealand's only coal fired paddle steamer
  • Visit historic Ratana - a mainly Maori town where the tiny population swells during the annual pilgrimage of followers of the Ratana faith.

 

New Zealand
Whanganui boasts the country's only Glass School., New Zealand

By Whanganui District Council

Whanganui boasts the country's only Glass School.

A feast for the eyes

  • Enjoy Whanganui's vibrant arts scene, which includes fine arts, graphic design, photography, glass blowing and fashion.
  • Visit the Sarjeant Art Gallery in Whanganui, celebrated for its neo-classical architecture and magnificent exhibitions.
  • Look out for the Ward Observatory in Whanganui. It houses the largest unmodified refractor telescope still in use in New Zealand.

Where to next?

Ruapehu →

Taranaki →

Manawatu →