The restored Waimarie Paddle Steamer on the Whanganui River
Wanganui boasts several Theatres and the historic Royal Wanganui Opera House. The city is well stocked with restaurants and has many sporting facilities - including, of course, the river. The Masters Games are held here every second year and on Boxing Day the streets are closed off for “The Cemetary Circuit” - motor bike racing through the streets. For the rest of the year there are speed boat races, rowing competitions and much more.
You can walk from the town to the mouth of the river, about 3 km on the new walkway.
Maybe take a canoe trip down the Whanganui River from Taumaranui to Wanganui where you can also take a trip on the restored paddle steamer Waimarie, now more than 110 years old, beautifully restored for re-launch at the start of the millenium.
You can drive up the “River Road” to Pipiriki to take a jet boat through the Gorges and walk to the famous Bridge to Nowhere. This was built in the 1930's when the government was trying to settle remoter areas. Farming and living here was on very poor land and the area was eventually abandoned. Hence the bridge stands over a tributory – but now for no reason except as an object to give a good reason to visit the area.
There are extraordinary black sand beaches around Wanganui, easily accessible from us and the Tasman Sea is just visible from our house and garden.
There is plenty of unique inland landscape to explore including “The Forgotten Highway" at Stratford which winds through historic areas to the wonderful village of of Whangamomona which declares independence and elects a president every 2 years – one year it was a goat!
The very scenic Parapara highway leads north towards Raetihi, National Park and the volcanoes of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro.
Return via State Highway 1 - The 'Deser't Road.
One journey takes you through startlingly steep sheep country and along the amazing Kaoarapaoa Road, which has been much improved recently.
Why not follow the Edwardian Tourists inland from Wanganui along the Whanganui River Road to Pipiriki.