Whanganui, a UNESCO City of Design, is a vibrant blend of heritage and modern creativity.
Take part in a glass-blowing workshop, stroll through its streets to visit galleries, or catch a live music performance on the weekends – whatever your interests, there's something for everyone in Whanganui.
If you want to experience the city’s creative scene, here’s the top ten activities.
The Sarjeant Gallery(opens in new window) is a cornerstone of the creative scene in Whanganui. Founded in 1912, the gallery has been an important cultural institution for over a century and boasts an impressive collection of art, spanning over four centuries. The gallery's focus on contemporary art and its dedication to showcasing emerging artists makes it a vital platform for the region's creative community.
Currently under reconstruction but re-opening in 2024.
3. Explore the regional museum
The Whanganui Regional Museum(opens in new window) plays a vital role in the city's cultural identity, showcasing the region's cultural and natural history through its extensive collection of over 100,000 items, ranging from Māori artifacts and colonial-era objects to natural history specimens and geological formations. The museum's Taonga Māori collection is one of the largest and most significant collections of Māori treasures in the country.
4. Catch a live gig
Royal Whanganui Opera House(opens in new window) and the Musician's Club host nationally renowned performances, including opera and classical music concerts. Bars like Porridge Watson and Frank showcase local and touring acts, providing a platform for emerging artists and open-mic nights.
5. Go for a heritage walk
Victoria Avenue is one of New Zealand's most beautiful main streets, enriched with numerous heritage buildings showcasing the city's coloial past. Don't miss the iconic Durie Hill Elevator, leading to the stunning Durie Hill War Memorial Tower, which offers panoramic views of Whanganui and its surrounding natural beauty.
The Whanganui Artists Open Studios(opens in new window) is a noteworthy event, where visitors can get a glimpse into the creative process of local artists and learn about their inspirations and techniques. This annual event provides a unique opportunity to explore the city's art scene and meet the talented artists who call Whanganui home.
9. Discover street art
Take a leisurely stroll through the city's streets and alleys to admire the captivating murals that adorn the walls. The street art has been curated through Whanganui Walls(opens in new window), a previous street art festival. From large-scale murals to intricate stencil work, Whanganui's street art scene adds a contemporary and urban flavour to the city's creative landscape.
10. Discover more creativity via the Coastal Art Trail
The Coastal Arts Trail in Whanganui offers a glimpse into the lives and inspirations of local artists and creatives. Explore unique galleries, attend diverse workshops, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural community. There are over 25 galleries and studios to visit, showcasing a diverse range of art forms and styles. Check out the Coastal Arts Trail website to see them all.