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WhanganuiNew Zealand

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
Grand Hotel Wanganui
Grand Hotel Wanganui
3 out of 5
Cnr St Hill and Guyton Street, Whanganui
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
NZ$110
per night
30 Apr. - 1 May

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 ...

3.9/5Very Good! (327 reviews)

"The staff here were FANTASTIC and very accommodating considering I'd booked online about 5 min before we arrived! The actual hotel was a bit run down and clutter-ry but it was ok and pleasant enough for our 2 nights there. Lovely building, very good location, just needs some paint and love."…"

Reviewed on 2 Mar. 2020

Grand Hotel Wanganui
Kingsgate Hotel The Avenue Wanganui
Kingsgate Hotel The Avenue Wanganui
3 out of 5
379 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui
NZ$115
per night
4 Apr. - 5 Apr.

Located in the heart of Whanganui, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Whanganui Museum, Watt Fountain and Sarjeant Gallery. Durie Hill Elevator and Whanganui ...

3.8/5Good! (229 reviews)

"The room was clean, modern and much bigger than I expected, which was really good. Kitchen had oven, microwave, fridge, etc as well as pots/pans and all cooking utensils, so it was great having the choice to either eat at the restaurant or cook your own meal in the room. Loved the swimming pool and ..."…"

Reviewed on 3 Mar. 2020

Kingsgate Hotel The Avenue Wanganui
151 on London Motel
151 on London Motel
4.5 out of 5
151 London Street, Whanganui
NZ$120
per night
3 Apr. - 4 Apr.

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! (190 reviews)

"Easy check-in, clean - and an exercise room! Conveniently located and quiet."…"

Reviewed on 12 Mar. 2020

151 on London Motel

Reviews of Whanganui

4.2

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
63
5 - Excellent 30%
4 - Good
121
4 - Good 57.61904761904762%
3 - Okay
26
3 - Okay 12.380952380952381%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

16 Mar. 2020

very pleasing place

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

2 Mar. 2020

The Whanganui Council have done a wonderful job of decorating the Victoria St area, with hanging baskets of flowers and well maintained flower beds, the whole town always looked sparkling clean, no debri ever in sight, it really was a credit to them.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

2 Mar. 2020

Quaint place that's rather old school in how a lot of restaurants, cafes etc were either shut early or not open at all during the weekend! Very arty, but also felt like a retirement village.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

2 Mar. 2020

I have visited Wanganui frequently - It has beautiful architecture - enjoyable river walk - multiple good coffee shops - Kai Iwi Beach

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

23 Feb. 2020

Was there for family occasion so didn’t spend much time there this time around. Recommend the Red Lion lunch options though, very good value for money with choices and portion sizes

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

2 Feb. 2020

Neat town, went with mates, looking forward to taking the family