WhanganuiNew Zealand

Image for Whanganui, Manawatu - Wanganui, New Zealand
trover photo by Paul Billaney

Visit Whanganui

This charming city has long been known for its abundance of cultural and historical delights as well as its gorgeous riverside location.

Fertile soils, a temperate climate and plenty of fresh water made Wanganui one of New Zealand’s most successful Māori settlements during the 1800s. Nowadays, Wanganui is best known for its great museums, riverboat cruises and pleasant surrounding countryside.

Discover the area’s indigenous past with a visit to the Whanganui Regional Museum. Here you can see the spectacular Te Mata o Hoturoa War Canoe. This was constructed from a single tree and is covered with exquisite carvings. View more historical objects and learn about the cultures of the Māori tribes. You will also find a range of interactive displays that take a look at some of the North Island’s indigenous animals and plants.

If you like the examples of Māori art in the museum, head to Sarjeant Gallery where you can see fascinating tribal artworks. You will also see a range of local landscapes by the artists Domenico Piola, William Etty and Lelio Orsi, among others.

From here, head to the waterfront Chronicle Glass Studio. Watch as professional glass blowers shape intricate vases, or try it out for yourself during a 1-day course. Create a colorful paperweight to take home as a souvenir.

A short stroll across the park will take you to the Whanganui Riverboat Centre. Here, several displays explore the history of the river, but the highlight is the restored boat, the Waimarie. Known for being the last of the paddle steamboats used in Wanganui, the Waimarie sank in 1952 and lay submerged for 41 years. After a painstaking restoration, this historic vessel is once again taking passengers on gentle cruises along the tranquil river.

Wanganui has a range of accommodation options to meet different requirements. A number of restaurants and hotels in the town serve hearty local cuisine.

Fly into Wanganui’s local airport or drive from Auckland in around 5 hours and Wellington within 3 hours. It’s worth staying a few days in Wanganui to explore some of the pretty surrounding countryside and take in its rich cultural heritage.

Top hotels in Whanganui

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
151 on London Motel
151 on London Motel
4.5 out of 5
151 London Street, Whanganui
NZ$105
per night
Feb 9 - Feb 10

Situated in the business district, this motel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Whanganui Museum, Watt Fountain and Whanganui Riverboat Centre and Museum. Virginia Lake ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (182 reviews)

"Conveniently located and easily found. Surprised at size of unit - very small - but served the purpose of simply a bed for the night. Had expected amenities - bathroom with shower."…"

Reviewed on 1 Jan. 2020

151 on London Motel
Aotea Motor Lodge
Aotea Motor Lodge
4.5 out of 5
390 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui
NZ$155
per night
Jan 30 - Jan 31

Situated in Whanganui, this luxury apartment building is within 1 mile (2 km) of Whanganui Museum, Watt Fountain and Sarjeant Gallery. Queens Park and Durie ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (243 reviews)

"As motels go, this is among the best we have ever stayed at. Very convenient location close to the central business district and a variety of restaurants, reception with a big smile, a highly efficient check-in, plenty of parking on site, excellent facilities for the price, very clean in all aspects, ..."…"

Reviewed on 8 Jan. 2020

Aotea Motor Lodge
Grand Hotel Wanganui
Grand Hotel Wanganui
3 out of 5
Cnr St Hill and Guyton Street, Whanganui
NZ$110
per night
Jan 30 - Jan 31

Situated in Whanganui, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Whanganui Museum, Watt Fountain and Sarjeant Gallery. Durie Hill Elevator and Whanganui Riverboat ...

4/5Very Good! (313 reviews)

"A beautiful old hotel, well kept and a good location. The staff was friendly and helpful."…"

Reviewed on 21 Jan. 2020

Grand Hotel Wanganui

Reviews of Whanganui

4.2

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
59
5 - Excellent 31.21693121693122%
4 - Good
107
4 - Good 56.613756613756614%
3 - Okay
23
3 - Okay 12.16931216931217%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Jun

Jan 28, 2020

Wanganui is small but the basics you need are available. No heavy traffic, very good view, close to the river and sea. Someday I'll go back there for fishing with friends. We want to move there! Aucklanders , why not try to visit Wanganui.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jan 26, 2020

Trafalgar Square shopping centre is conveniently located by the River on Taupo Ave and has the Warehouse, Countdown and a small foodcourt and ATM for anything you might need in a rush.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 19, 2020

Great vintage weekend.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 19, 2020

There's alot to see and do especially during their annual vintage weekend

5/5 - Excellent

Andy

Jan 18, 2020

I am from Auckland and have traveled to Whanganui since before my children were born to enjoy Kowhai Park. This makes Whanganui one of my favorite visiting places in the North Island. My children are adult and have always loved Whanganui.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 6, 2020

Heaps of shops good ,markets along the waterfront.Should be renamed ... Windy Whanganui