Whanganui is located on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island and is a 2 ½ hour drive from the capital city of Wellington. Whanganui, also spelled Wanganui, rests at the crossroads of State Highways 3 and 4.One of the most spectacular features of Whanganui is its picturesque view. It’s surrounded by mountains: Mount Taranaki, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Tongariro. Together they create a dramatic natural landscape second to none. Don’t forget about Whanganui National Park and its lush, picturesque landscape. The Bridge to Nowhere is a main attraction here, but so is the thick plant life. In and around Whanganui, there is plenty to do on foot or with bicycles as residents here love to get out and stretch their legs. In the winter, there is still plenty to see even if you travel here by campervan . No matter how you get here, visitors are welcome to this popular spot. There is plenty to do year-round in Whanganui, but wintertime opens the door to a myriad of unique and diverse activities. And if outdoor activities aren’t for you, the Whanganui Winter Garden is open year-round and offers splendid displays in any season. The adjoining art garden features unique sculpture pieces to check out. Whanganui is also rich in history and culture. St. Paul’s Memorial Church in Putiki, Whanganui is one of the most beautifully constructed churches in all of New Zealand. The church site dates back to 1842, while the current church building was constructed in 1936. The Maori tukutuku panelling or weavings with their beautiful and intricate lattice designs detail the history of the church and the area. It’s definitely a must-see. Whether you are an outdoor adventurer or the casual tourist, Whanganui has something wonderful to offer everyone.
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Take a 25 minute woodland walk around the lake, spy Peter Pan’s statue and enjoy the birdlife, both on and around the water. The Winter Gardens is an all‑year‑round attraction with colourful displays whatever the season or weather. Adjoining is the Art Garden combining sculpture and garden art. Visit in the evening and see the historic Higginbottom Fountain lit up at night. Add in a children’s playground and a free bird aviary and this makes Virginia Lake one of the best attractions of things to do in Whanganui!
In 2014, after many years of volunteer hard work, “Mable”, the No. 12 vintage electric tram celebrated her first public outing on the riverbank of Whanganui.
The tram was built by Boon and Co in Christchurch around 1911 and began operating here on the 26th of November in 1912.
Until the 1950’s Whanganui’s tram network carried passengers between the outer suburbs, the beach and the CBD. Opened in 1908, Wanganui was the first provincial town to have a tramway and twelve trams were commissioned by the then Mayor Mackay. “Mable” is believed to have operated mainly between Victoria Avenue in the centre of the town and the coastal suburb of Castlecliff.
Today you can see her housed in the bright red tram shed, gifted to the city by David Harre in the 1990’s from its previous relocation in Auckland.
Since then, the Tramways Trust and Wanganui District Council have worked together to get the tram operating again. The overhead electrical system and donated parts were installed by volunteers and the contributions of the Tramways Trust’s partners – the Wellington Tramways Museum and MOTAT in Auckland. At the opening ceremony in 2014, Paulene Emerson was asked to cut the ribbon, in honour of her late husband Martin, who was one of the driving forces behind having the tram restored, even travelling to Australia for parts.
Now it is not unusual to see couples enjoy the tram as a backdrop for their wedding photos. The tram posts along the river post are square as were original tram poles. Beautifully lit up at night by blue LED light strips this system contributes to the enchantment of the Whanganui River night scene.
Public rides are available on set days and children over the age of 75 years can ride for free! The Museum also contains the Tingey Wagon, built about 1900, specifically for the transportation of crates of glass from the Whanganui Wharf to the Tingey Glass premises in Victoria Avenue.
A pedestrian tunnel leads to the elevator and at the top the panoramic views of the Tasman Sea, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Taranaki are amazing. Right next to the elevator tower is the fantastic War Memorial Tower, which, when climbed, will offer an even more amazing vista of the city! These are the places for your selfie 🙂 One of the top things to do in Whanganui!
She arrived in Whanganui in 1899 and has been fully restored to her original condition. Moored on the banks of the river near the Waimarie Centre, we celebrate the riverboat era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Looking for a bit of history on your list of things to do in Whanganui – then enjoy stepping back in time and take a leisurely cruise on the mighty Whanganui River!
Self contained campervans can stay here overnight. It's a beatiful view over the city, and only a short walk down to the main street and markets on a Saturday morning. Slanted parking, no leveled spaces available.Visit Blyth Street
Campervans, Caravans, Tents, Motels, Cabins, etc Quiet, secure, shops around the corner Open 24 hoursVisit Bignell Street Campervan Park
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Take the stress out of travelling by using CamperMate, the free New Zealand Travel app that shows you nearby locations of everything you’ll need
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