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Whanganui
-> Map of Whanganui

Our Whanganui travel tips:

  • Whanganui region A little bit out of the way, Whanganui offers authentic experiences
  • Whanganui is one of the few regions in New Zealand where visitors get the chance to stay on a marae (Maori meeting house) and really get to know the Maori culture from close-up
  • If you like to kayak or canoe there are amazing river journeys waiting for you in the Whanganui National Park, be it for daytrips or longer
  • The native forests are spectacular, most famous is the walk to the 'Bridge to Nowhere'
  • Whanganui tips - view from Durie Hill - New Zealand travel

History, art and intrepid river journeys


Embark on a journey of discovery. Whanganui offers relaxation and a haven from the pressures of modern living. It's a great place to rediscover inner peace and reconnect with who you really are. Visitors can immerse themselves in local art, culture, history and the legendary spirit of the majestic Whanganui River.

The region is rich in Maori and European history, and the past is proudly remembered and respected by the people of today. This is physically apparent in the beautifully preserved heritage buildings, riverboats and marae.

Travel along the Whanganui River Valley and absorb the tranquil beauty of the landscapes. The spiritual feel of this special place is almost tangible. Time loses importance here, swept from its throne by deep levels of relaxation and close connections with the natural world. This rejuvenating atmosphere is created by a wonderful combination of a mystical presence, stunning scenery and very limited human intervention.

Whanganui tips - New Zealand travelWhanganui National Park: The Whanganui River winds its way through hills and valleys from the mountains of the central North Island to the Tasman Sea. To appreciate its beauty, kayak or journey down the river with local Maori guides. Enjoy cultural and historical experiences as well as paddle-steamer, canoe, kayak, jetboat and hiking adventures.

Historic architecture: Whanganui city offers an abundance of well-preserved historic buildings and the main street is recognised as one of New Zealand's most attractive. Gaslights, wrought iron garden seats, palm and plane trees, and wide paved footpaths all contribute to a very elegant heritage atmosphere.

Whanganui has a strong and talented artist community. Unique works of art, in a range of media, are exhibited in numerous galleries and studios. The city is New Zealand's ‘Centre of Glass Excellence’ and visitors can enjoy live glass blowing as artists create their exquisite works.

See here for hotels in the Whanganui region.

Source: Tourism New Zealand

Highlights of the Whanganui region

  • Whanganui National Park: One of New Zealand's great walks can be found here, the 'Whanganui Journey ', but there's no need to pack your walking sticks - the entire journey is on the Whanganui river! 145 kilometres of downriver experience by kayak or canoe, staying at Maori meeting houses, adoring the dense bush and mastering the gentle rapids on the way. The 'Bridge to Nowhere' from 1936 can be accessed by a short walking track from Mangapurua Landing, you can get there by jet boat.
  • Whanganui tips - New Zealand travel - Whanganui centreWhanganui River Road: The old road to Raetihi is a step back in time, with opportunities to stop at Maori Pa fortress (sites), old churches, meeting houses, heritage buildings, pioneering sites and bush walks.
  • Whanganui (or Wanganui, since 2009 both spellings are official and correct): Set on the banks of the Whanganui River and not far from its adjacent West Coast beaches Castlecliff and South Beach, a town full of heritage and history, both from Maori and European settlers, as can be seen in the impressive Whanganui Regional Museum. For example, the Royal Whanganui Opera house was the fourth theatre in the world to have electric lights! Don't miss the tunnel elevator to the top of Durie Hill to gain a good overview of the area. In the vicinity there are lots of enchanting walks and gardens to visit.

The best Whanganui walks

  • Whanganui tips - New Zealand travel - Whanganui centreBridge to Nowhere Walk (1,5 h return), from Mangapurua Landing on the Whanganui River
  • Gordon Park Loop Track (15 min), Kaimatira Road, Whanganui
  • Riverbank Pathway to Castlecliff Beach, along the river to the ocean
  • Bason Botanic Gardens, Rapanui Road, west of Whanganui
  • Waitahinga Dam & Viewpoint Trails - a range of walking tracks, access via Rangitatau East Road, then Junction Road, west of Whanganui
  • Makotuku River Walkway, Raetihi
  • Te Maire Loop Track (2 h), access from Te Maire Valley Road south of State Highway 43

The best Whanganui lookouts

  • Durie Hill Elevator Lookout
  • Raukawa Falls Lookout, State Highway 4

The best Whanganui museums

  • Whanganui tips - New Zealand travel - Whanganui beachWhanganui Regional Museum, Watt Street, Whanganui
  • Whanganui Riverboat Centre Museum, Taupo Quay, Whanganui
  • Sarjeant Gallery - Te Whare o Rehua, Queens Park, Whanganui

Map of the Whanganui region


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Whanganui tips - New Zealand travel - Durie Hill Tunnel

Whanganui tips - New Zealand travel - Whanganui steamer

Whanganui tips - New Zealand travel - Whanganui art

Whanganui tips - New Zealand travel - Whanganui mole

Whanganui tips - New Zealand travel - Whanganui centre

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