Whanganui region is known for its natural beauty and is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. 

Whanganui offers a wealth of natural beauty and cultural wonders to explore. From enchanting gardens to breathtaking views, the region boasts a range of scenic highlights. For those seeking adventure or relaxation, Whanganui has it all. Additionally, the Whanganui National Park is a must-visit, with its stunning landscapes of native forests, ridges, and river valleys. 

1. Discover the untamed beauty of Whanganui National Park

The Whanganui National Park offers endless opportunities to soak up its spectacular scenery and discover its depths. Whether you prefer to drive, bike, jet boat, canoe, or take it by foot, there's a way for everyone to explore this beautiful park. The most impressive part of the park is the Whanganui River that is New Zealand’s longest navigable waterway. If you want to tackle it by land, check out the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trails and cycle through the mystical Whanganui River Road

2. Experience Whanganui's thrilling canoe journey

The Whanganui canoe journey is widely considered to be one of the must-do activities. Travelling down the Whanganui River, you’ll take in stunning views of towering cliffs, lush forests, and picturesque waterfalls, while experiencing the thrill of navigating rapids and other challenging waterways. Whether travelling solo or with a group, the Whanganui canoe journey will be an unforgettable experience. 

3. Explore a bridge to nowhere

The Bridge to Nowhere is located deep in the forest of Whanganui National Park. You can access this adventure by canoe or jet boat, or through a two-day hike along the Mangapurua Track which starts at Whakahoro.

4. A 25-hectare haven of natural beauty

The Bason Botanic Gardens, rated a "Garden of Regional Significance" by the New Zealand Gardens Trust, covers 25-hectares. Explore the English Garden, the Mediterranean plantings, the Native Wetlands and more. Expansive lawns, free gas BBQs, picnic tables and a three-hole disc golf course make this an ideal spot for picnics. 

5. A serene oasis with woodland walks

One of Whanganui’s premier parks, Virginia Lake Whanganui (Rotokawau)(opens in new window) offers a range of activities including a 25-minute woodland walk around the lake. The birdlife, both on and around the water, is a major attraction and this is complemented by an aviary. 

One of the beautiful attractions at Virginia Lake Whanganui is the Higginbottom Fountain, which is lit at night and gently changes between colours. The Winter Gardens is an all-year-round attraction with colourful displays whatever the season or weather.

6. Go on a hike with a view

For those seeking a more challenging trek, the Ātene Skyline Track(opens in new window) offers a six to eight-hour round trip hike through a limited but accessible portion of Whanganui National Park. This walk involves some steep ascents, which are offset by rewarding vistasFrom this vantage point, you can take in panoramic views of the old Whanganui River channel, rolling hills, and lush forests.

7. Breath-taking panoramic views of Whanganui

Durie Hill lookout boasts some of the most stunning views in Whanganui. You can reach the lookout via an underground elevator or, if you’re feeling brave, by hiking 190 steps to the summit. It is worth the effort, once you reach the top you’ll be treated to views of the Whanganui River, the city's historic district, and on clear days, views of Mount Ruapehu and Taranaki. 

8. Unwind and explore Whanganui black-sand beaches

The beaches in Whanganui are known for their black sand, and picturesque scenery that provides a perfect backdrop for relaxation and fun. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities, including swimming, surfing, sunbathing, beachcombing, and fishing. Some of the most popular beaches in Whanganui include Kai Iwi Beach, Castlecliff Beach, and South Beach.