Art Deco and Victorian buildings in the centre of Wanganui
The coastal town of Wanganui is an unspoiled historical town which, already an important Maori marae at the mouth of the Whanganui River, was one of the first areas in NZ to be settled by Europeans.
The main shopping street, Victoria Avenue is one of the most attractive in New Zealand, lined with shade giving trees and historic buildings, with an original working Victorian fountain in the main street. It is unspoiled by hordes of tourists, so this is the real hidden New Zealand.
The Whanganui River is NZ's longest navigable river and it runs through huge areas of unspoiled National Parkland. In places it runs through canyons with huge papa cliffs. So why not explore the Whanganui River – known as the "Rhine of New Zealand" You could enjoy a steam paddle-boat trip or whiz along in a jet boat. You could paddle to Wanganui all the way from Tauramanui. Alternatively, a car trip up-river to Pipiriki means that you could call in at a Maori Marae en-route.
One of the oldest buildings in Wanganui, about 1840 can still be seen on the riverside. The shopping area around Victoria Avenue has many historic buildings including the Rutland Hotel and not far away is the Royal Wanganui Opera House, built of wood in 1899. The city is well stocked with restaurants and many sporting facilities.
The Whanganui River is well used for skulling events, and there are many other sporting venues. There is a huge swimming pool complex; a velodrome; sports arena and a racecourse.
Wanganui is surrounded by steep hill country interspersed with lush valleys, all of which is great fun to explore.