Top things to do

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 she was shipped out from England and paddled the Whanganui until she sank in…
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 Cafe in Whanganui

Yellow House Café

Take a walk away from the main drag for funky tunes, buttermilk pancakes, local art and courtyard tables beneath a chunky-trunk cherry blossom tree. Ooh look – lemon coconut slice! Super-friendly staff bend over bac…
Top Choice Cafe in Whanganui

Mischief on Guyton

'I believe in reality every now and then' says the little sign in the window. How mischievous. Step inside for cafe classics (eggs Benedict, savoury mince) and globally inspired lunch mains (Thai green prawn curry, …
Top Choice Museum in Whanganui

Whanganui Regional Museum

One of NZ’s better natural-history museums. Māori exhibits include the carved Te Mata o Houroa war canoe and some vicious-looking mere (greenstone clubs). The colonial and wildlife installations are first rate, and …
Top Choice Gallery in Whanganui

New Zeland Glassworks

The pick of Whanganui's many glass studios. Watch glass-blowers working, check out the gallery, take a weekend glass-blowing course ($390) or a one-hour ‘Make a Paperweight’ lesson ($100), or just hang out and warm …
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. A tunnel burrows 213m into the hillside, from where a 1919 elevator rattles 65.8m to the to…
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…
Cafe in Whanganui

Ambrosia

The counter at Ambrosia is full of fab pies and quiches, or you can order something from the kitchen – perhaps a ploughman's lunch, some quesadillas, a chunky sandwich, a BLT or just a Havana coffee (beans from Well…
Cafe in Whanganui

Big Orange

Inside a gorgeous old Whanganui red-brick building, Big Orange is a babbling espresso bar serving gourmet burgers, big breakfasts, muffins, cakes and sandwiches (try the BLT). The outdoor tables go berserk during su…