Whanganui attractions

Top Choice Museum in Whanganui

Waimarie Centre

The historical displays are interesting, but everyone's here for the PS Waimarie, the last of the Whanganui River paddle steamers. In 1900 it was shipped out from England and paddled the Whanganui until it sank ingl…
Top Choice Gallery in Whanganui

Sarjeant on the Quay

The elegant old neoclassical Sarjeant Gallery building in Queens Park is closed for earthquake-proofing. Until that work is finished, this estimable art collection is housed on Taupo Quay. There's not as much room h…
Top Choice Gallery in Whanganui

New Zealand Glassworks

The pick of Whanganui's many glass studios. Watch glass-blowers working, check out the gallery, take a one-day glass-blowing course ($290, four people max) or a 30-minute ‘Make a Paperweight’ lesson ($80), or just h…
Top Choice Museum in Whanganui

Whanganui Regional Museum

When we visited, the original Queens Park museum was closed for earthquake strengthening but open for business on Ridgway St. Here you'll get a glimpse of one of NZ’s better natural-history museums, including Māori …
Tower in Whanganui

Durie Hill Elevator

Across City Bridge from downtown Whanganui, this elevator was built with grand visions for Durie Hill’s residential future. Beyond an entrance lined with Māori carvings, a tunnel burrows 213m into the hillside, from…
Church in Whanganui

Putiki Church

Across the City Bridge from town and 1km towards the sea is the Putiki Church (aka St Paul’s Memorial Church). It’s unremarkable externally, but just like the faithful pew-fillers, it’s what’s inside that counts: th…
Beach in Whanganui

Kai Iwi Beach

Kai Iwi Beach is a wild ocean frontier, strewn with black sand, the ruin of a gun emplacement from WWII and masses of driftwood (you might see locals collecting it for their next 'piece'). There's also a big playgro…
Lake in Whanganui

Virginia Lake

A couple of kilometres northwest of the centre, Virginia Lake is the perfect place for a stroll (around the lake or the woodland walk). Aside from the ducks, there's an aviary with cheeky cockatoos (9am to 4pm), the…
Tower in Whanganui

War Memorial Tower

Ride the ratchety old Durie Hill Elevator up to the top of Durie Hill, then keep climbing skywards up the austere War Memorial Tower. It's 176 steps and 33.5m to the top, from where there are clear-day views from th…
Gardens in Whanganui

Bason Botanic Gardens

Set 11km from Whanganui centre (pair it with a trip to Kai Iwi Beach), these gardens spread over 25 hectares and feature orchids, tropical plants, sculpture and interesting architecture (swirly brick barbecues for y…