Wanganui is located on the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The famous Whanganui River flows from one of New Zealand's highest volcanoes, Mount Tongariro, through the spectacular Whanganui National Park, to the coast of the Tasman Sea, and the bustling city of Wanganui. Internationally famous for the spectacular scenery of the Whanganui River, this picturesque city is fast becoming a 'get away' spot for visitors.
The Legend of the Whanganui River
When the great mountains Tongariro and Taranaki came into conflict over the love of the beautiful Mt Pihanga, a mighty battle ensued. Tongiriro eventually won this fierce battle and Taranaki, wild with grief and anger at the loss of his love, ripped himself from the ground and tore a path through the country to the setting sun.
Soon after the mighty battle, a stream of clear water sprang from Tongariro, which filled and healed the wound Taranaki had made in his flight towards the ocean. Green forests, filled with the songs of birds, grew throughout the valley of this new river, known as the Whanganui River.
A trip to the enigmatic Bridge to Nowhere is a must. A jetboat takes you to the Mangapurua Landing on the Whanganui River and from there it is a 40 minute hike into the Bridge.
Nestled in the picturesque valley of the Mangawhero River, in close proximity to the Central Plateau and Whanganui River, is Raukawa Falls. A popular spot for swimming and river activities.
There are many remote areas in the Wanganui Region to enjoy a bit or peace and solitude. Get away from it all by tackling the Matemateaonga or Mangapurua tracks into the heart of the Whanganui National Park. These long (3 to 5 day) walks will let you experience the isolation and beauty of the New Zealand bush.
Shorter tramping options are available such as the 6 to 8 hour Atene Skyline Track.
For the more adventurous a 3 or 5 day canoe trip through the wilderness region of the Whanganui River is an experience not to be missed.
Wanganui is a delightful provincial city rich in both Maori and European history. The town abounds with historic buildings, preserved from the early days of European settlement, along with beautiful parks and gardens.
Wanganui's Victoria Avenue is recognised as one of New Zealand's most attractive main streets. The heritage theme adopted in the restoration of Victoria Avenue reflects the rich history of the city. Gaslights, wrought iron garden seats, palm and plane trees and wide paved footpaths all contribute to making this a welcoming shopping environment. This is even further enhanced during summer when around 1000 hanging baskets decorate shop fronts in the central city.
Rich in Art and Culture, Wanganui has long been recognised as a centre of cultural excellence.
The Whanganui River is New Zealand's longest navigable river. As one of the earliest locations of Maori occupation, the Whanganui River valley is rich in Maori history and culture. The 100 year old Paddle Steamer "Waimarie" is moored on the Whanganui River close to the centre of town, with regular cruises available throughout the summer season.
In town you can stroll around the city walks absorbing the heritage of Wanganui, ride the Durie Hill Elevator and enjoy the panoramic view of Wanganui from the top of the hill or take a cruise on the PS Waimarie.
Drive to Marton and take up the challenge of the Amazing Maze 'n Maize. How long will it take you to find your way through?
Take the mail coach for a fascinating day out experiencing the history and culture of the Whanganui River Road or pick up a guide from the Information Centre (i-site Wanganui) and drive yourself.