Whanganui and Taranaki are cities rich in heritage, culture and creative energy.

Spend the long weekend in Whanganui and Taranaki, just under 2 hour's drive from each other with lots to see and do. 

Long weekend in Whanganui




  • Unique Whanganui River Adventure
  • Putiki Church
  • Kai Iwi and Castlecliff beaches


  • by car:

    2.5 hours from Wellington

  • by plane:

    1 hour from Auckland

Things to do in Whanganui

Whanganui is a city well known for its history and picture-perfect heritage buildings. 

From visiting the breathtaking Bridge to Nowhere(opens in new window) to jet boating, canoeing, hiking, cycling and exploring, Whanganui’s beautiful scenery offers plenty of opportunities to get out there and enjoy the outdoors.

Explore the Whanganui River on a guided tour with Unique Whanganui River Adventures(opens in new window). Paddle your own canoe while hearing from local Māori guides about the history and culture of the river and its surroundings. 

Or discover the river aboard a beautiful historic riverboat. The Paddle Steamer Waimarie(opens in new window) was salvaged from the bottom of the Whanganui River, where it sat for around 50 years, and restored to its former glory. It was then re-launched in 2000 to make it New Zealand’s last steam-powered and coal-fired passenger paddle steamer.

Where to stay in Whanganui

Whanganui has a variety of accommodation options ranging from boutique accommodation, hotels and motels to backpackers, BnBs and campgrounds.

Spend a weekend getaway glamping with stunning riverside views at The Flying Fox(opens in new window). The site is only accessible by flying fox and the journey will take your breath away. Or step into a world of fantasy by staying at Iona Tiny House(opens in new window). Created from a historic vessel, crafted from kauri and totara, Iona is a tiny cottage just 600m from the restaurants and bars of Whanganui’s old town.

What to eat in Whanganui

Dine amongst Whanganui's rich heritage, art, and culture with a great selection of restaurants, bars, and cafés to choose from.

Visit the River Markets(opens in new window) on a Saturday morning, where you'll find fresh produce, hot food, arts and crafts. Or nearby is the Article Cafe(opens in new window) renowned for their serving coffee with soul.

Safety Information

Before embarking on the Whanganui Journey, make sure you do your research to determine whether the trip is right for you. To complete the trip safely, you need to be a confident swimmer and have a good fitness level. If you’re travelling unguided, previous experience and confidence in a canoe are required.

The Whanganui Journey Great Walks season runs from 1 October to 30 April. Outside of these dates, you are strongly recommended not to attempt this trip: the winter environment is wet and cold, the river level is high, the water temperature is very cold, and hut facilities are reduced. 

Visit the DOC website(opens in new window) to learn more about the trip, what to expect and how to prepare. 


Long weekend in Taranaki




  • Nau Mai Tours
  • Sanctuary Hill Yoga
  • Taranaki Maunga


  • by car:

    4.5 hours from Wellington

  • by plane:

    1 hour from Wellington

  • by plane:

    50 minutes from Auckland

Things to do in Taranaki

Just under 2 hours drive from Whanganui, you'll find the Taranaki region, a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.

Discover Taranaki Maunga, with over 200 kilometres of walking trails, there's a walk/hike for all fitness levels. If you're up for one of the longer hikes, stay overnight at Stratford Mountain House(opens in new window) situated on Maunga Taranaki with beautiful views out to the Taranaki coastline.

Learn to ride the waves of New Plymouth's famous, sandy Fitzroy Beach with Nau Mai Tours(opens in new window). Or explore the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway by foot, bike or hire an e-scooter. Stretching for up to 13 kilometres along New Plymouth's coastline, take in significant sights such as Len Lye's Wind Wand and The Rewa Rewa Bridge.

Or experience a full mind and body detox through yoga, meditation, and connecting to nature at Sanctuary Hill Yoga(opens in new window).

Where to stay in Taranaki

From world-class beaches to perfectly formed volcanic mountain peaks, the accommodation options in Taranaki showcase the natural marvels the area has to offer.

Taranaki is the perfect weekend getaway destination for families, couples, or a group of friends. Find accommodation to fit your budget, including a collection of boutique hotels, beachfront villas, and BnBs. 

Where to eat in Taranaki

Renowned for its world-class art, culture and cuisine, the seaside setting and mountain views will have you spoilt for choice in Taranaki.

Experience authentic food tours with Discover Taranaki(opens in new window). Learn from local food producers who offer half and full-day activities for groups and individuals.

Or visit one of Taranaki’s award-winning brew houses, Shinning Peak Brewery(opens in new window) and Three Sisters Brewery.(opens in new window)

Safety Information

Taranaki Maunga is an alpine environment that is well known for fast-changing and extreme weather. In winter, snow, ice and freezing temperatures are common. Enjoy the beauty of Mount Taranaki in winter by choosing the right track for the season and making sure you are prepared for drastic weather changes. 

Stay safe in the outdoors by following the five simple steps of the Land Safety Code(opens in new window)

Traveling around New Zealand

Find deals in Taranaki and Whanganui


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