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Whanganui
Travel Guide

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.

Kingsgate Hotel The Avenue Wanganui
Kingsgate Hotel The Avenue Wanganui
3 out of 5
379 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui
The price is NZ$115 per night from 20 May to 20 May
Located in the heart of Whanganui, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Watt Fountain, Sarjeant Gallery and Whanganui Museum. Durie Hill Elevator and Whanganui ...
3.8/5Good! (278 reviews)
"Good food, and great staff, but tired decor and flimsy construction (thin walls)."

Reviewed on 15 Apr. 2021

Kingsgate Hotel The Avenue Wanganui
Grand Hotel Wanganui
Grand Hotel Wanganui
3 out of 5
Cnr St Hill and Guyton Street, Whanganui
The price is NZ$99 per night from 18 May to 18 May
Situated in Whanganui, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Watt Fountain, Sarjeant Gallery and Whanganui Museum. Durie Hill Elevator and Whanganui Riverboat ...
3.9/5Good! (377 reviews)
"We have stayed at the 'Grand' annually for many years. Always a treat to see the proprietor who had become a 'friend'. Sad to hear Neville, had sold the hotel . We were shown to what I would call a 'Mumbai' room. Canvas beach chairs etc! On asking, we were given the sort of room we are used to at ..."

Reviewed on 18 Apr. 2021

Grand Hotel Wanganui
Gateway Motor Lodge Wanganui
Gateway Motor Lodge Wanganui
4 out of 5
59 Heads Road, Whanganui
The price is NZ$130 per night from 19 May to 19 May
Situated near the beach, this motel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Durie Hill Elevator, Sarjeant Gallery and Moutoa Gardens. Queens Park and Whanganui Museum are also ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (158 reviews)
"We thoroughly enjoyed our stay."

Reviewed on 1 May 2021

Gateway Motor Lodge Wanganui
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Aotea Motor Lodge
Aotea Motor Lodge
4.5 out of 5
390 Victoria Avenue, Whanganui
The price is NZ$192 per night from 18 May to 18 May
Located in the heart of Whanganui, this luxury aparthotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Watt Fountain, Sarjeant Gallery and Queens Park. Whanganui Museum and Durie ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (294 reviews)
"I would most definitely come back my stay was amazing snd the reception lady was so lovely.room was amazing!!"

Reviewed on 13 May 2021

Aotea Motor Lodge
Anndion Lodge Motel and Function Centre
Anndion Lodge Motel and Function Centre
3.5 out of 5
143 Anzac Parade, Whanganui
The price is NZ$85 per night from 18 May to 18 May
Situated on the riverwalk, this eco-friendly aparthotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of Sarjeant Gallery, Moutoa Gardens and Queens Park. Whanganui Museum and Whanganui ...
4.1/5Very Good! (94 reviews)
"Pretty nice property and great location opposite the river and close to the city. Highly recommended with great facilities."

Reviewed on 1 Feb. 2021

Anndion Lodge Motel and Function Centre
Riverside Townhouse With Room for all the Family & Wifi
Riverside Townhouse With Room for all the Family & Wifi
3 St Georges Gate, Wanganui, Whanganui, Manawatu - Wanganui
The price is NZ$151 per night from 24 May to 24 May
Situated on the riverfront, this holiday home is within a 10-minute walk of Moutoa Gardens, Sarjeant Gallery and Queens Park. Whanganui Museum and Whanganui ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (82 reviews)
Great for tradies
"Very nice place to stay, plenty of room and close to town. Would definitely recommend, host very easy to deal with."

Reviewed on 7 May 2021

Riverside Townhouse With Room for all the Family & Wifi
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top activities in Whanganui