Whanganui (also known as Wanganui) is often referred to as the ‘River City’ and rests on the banks on the river by the same name. It is one of the first cities to be founded in New Zealand.The Whanganui River is New Zealand’s longest navigable waterway and runs from Mt Tongariro in the north to the sea in the south at Whanganui. Translated to english, Whanganui means ‘big bay’ or ‘big harbour’.
Popular activities in this region include canoeing down the Whanganui River with 1 day and multi-day adventures, exploring the many native bush walks located close to the city centre, jet boat thrills on the river, ventures to river side settlements on the upper reaches of the river and hunting.
Discover . . .
The Whanganui River offers a good range of water based activities from a relaxing river cruise to an exhilarating jet boat ride. You can explore the river on your own or take a guided tour.
Guided river tours:
A guided river tour provides an insight into early Maori settlement and their cultural significance to the area. Choose an overnight stay at a local Marae (traditional Maori village) for a special and spiritual experience. Alternatively, cruise the river on the PS Waimarie which is New Zealand’s only coal fired paddle steamer.
You have the option of self-guided and guided tours which range from from one to six days. The popular five-day Whanganui River Journey, which starts in Taumarunui, is considered one of New Zealand’s nine ‘Great Walks’ (even though it involves more paddling on a river than walking on land).
Take a high-speed jet boat tour featuring superb natural wonders, historic sites and stunning scenery.
Bridge to Nowhere:
The famous Bridge to Nowhere is an iconic part of Whanganui River history. You can find this by catching a jet boat from either Pipiriki or Whakahoro, canoeing on the river or by driving the wonderfully scenic Whanganui River Road.
Discover some local history:
Visit historic Durie Hill elevator which was built in 1919 and is one of only two earth-bound elevators found in the world.
Whanganui Regional Museum is acknowledged for its acclaimed collection of Maori treasures and artifacts. You can also see fabulous examples of portraits from the 1800’s of Maori people.
Wildlife and nature encounters:
Visit Peat Park Deer Sanctuary at the foot of Virginia Hill where you can feed free range deer. You can also join a guided eco and conservation tour on the Whanganui River where you will see endangered animals, extraordinary birdlife and experience the natural wonders of this amazing landscape.
River retreats and accommodation:
For a few nights at a lodge on the banks of the Whanganui River, consider the Flying Fox retreat which is located 42 kms by road from Whanganui. Access to the lodge is provided by cable-car from the car park and you can also reach the lodge by river taxi.
Off road adventures:
Local adventure tourism operators offer 4-WD Quad journeys through native bush, forrest and coastal trips. Guided tours can be customised for 1 day through to 4 days.
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