Top experiences in Whanganui

The built beauty in Whanganui is perfectly paired with the town’s natural landscape. It's a true wonderland!

1. Picnic in the park

Whanganui is speckled with parks; grab the family, pack a picnic, bring extra seeds for potential bird friends, and enjoy a day out discovering Whanganui. Whether you’re looking for a nice lakeside walk at Virginia Lake, or an afternoon in the water maze at Kowhai Park there is something for all to enjoy.  

2. Take in the view from up high

Want to see all of Whanganui? Durie Hill War Memorial Tower is the city’s most iconic tower and is 176 steps high, and 113 metres above sea level - giving you panoramic views of the city, Whanganui River, and the harbour. On a nice day, you may be able to spot Mt Taranaki, Mt Ruapehu and the northernmost tip of New Zealand.

3. Visit a sanctuary

Just a five-minute drive west of Whanganui is one of the region’s hidden treasures - Bushy Park Wildlife Sanctuary. This now healthy and regenerated forest allows visitors to wander among giant trees and see rare birds that the rest of the country have never seen nor, heard of before.

4. Get crafty with glasswork

For something more creative, head to New Zealand Glassworks where you can see a range of glass artists and browse the gallery. You can even get involved at special events or book your spot at the next paperweight or beginners Glass-blowing class.

5. Whanganui Traders Market

Get your dose of art, plants, food, crafts and threads every Saturday, on the downtown Whanganui Riverbank at the Traders Markets. In previous years the same location was used by Māori to trade their produce, and today it is a community environment that encourages local culture, produce, and history. Admire the many stalls and pick up some handmade goods.

6. Explore the Whanganui River

Soak up the beauty of New Zealand’s longest navigable waterway and explore the depths of the Whanganui River. You can bike, jet boat, canoe or take it by foot (there’s even a Paddlesteamer named, Waimarie).

7. Spend the day at a Whanganui beach

Whether you’re looking for an excellent fishing and surfing spot on South Beach, or a spot perfect for the whole family at Kai Iwi Beach, or Castlecliff - Whanganui has some stunning beaches to explore!

8. Take the road to the Bridge to Nowhere

Located deep in the forest of Whanganui National Park, this concrete road bridge looks ridiculously out of place. There is no road either side, and no signs of construction or civilisation. It is truly the 'Bridge to Nowhere'. As you can imagine, there is an interesting story behind this bridge...

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