• Heritage buildings
  • Galleries and museums
  • Historic Durie Hill elevator


  • by car:

    2.5 hours from Wellington

  • by plane:

    1 hour from Auckland

Discover heritage buildings, a thriving arts scene, a paddle steamer, and more along the Whanganui River.

The picturesque river city of Whanganui has an interesting history. During the late 1800s the city was an important trading centre, with the Whanganui river serving as a key transportation route for goods and people. The city's rapid expansion during this period has left its mark on the city's architecture. Notable buildings include the Royal Whanganui Opera House and the Sarjeant Art Gallery Te Whare o Rehua(opens in new window).

Art lovers will be pleased to learn that Whanganui has been named as New Zealand's only UNESCO City of Design, in recognition the city's contribution to art and creativity.

For traditional galleries visit Whanganui Regional Museum(opens in new window), which houses an impressive collection of Lindauer portraits and Māori taonga, providing a glimpse into the region's rich history. The Sarjeant Art Gallery Te Whare o Rehua gallery(opens in new window) has an extensive collection of New Zealand and international art.

For something less conventional, visit New Zealand Glassworks--Te Whare Tūhua o Te Ao(opens in new window) (NZG), the national center of art glass, or the Quartz Museum of studio ceramics(opens in new window), New Zealand's only dedicated museum for studio ceramics. The latter is home to New Zealand's largest collection of ceramics, featuring over 1000 works by prominent kiwi artists. 


If you're feeling adventurous, you have plenty of options, such as, multi-day canoe trips, jet boating and fishing. Don't miss the earthbound elevator that rises to the top of Durie Hill(opens in new window) and the Paddle Steamer Waimarie.

On Saturdays, visit the Whanganui River Markets, where local arts, crafts, and fresh produce are on full display.


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