Wanganui/Whanganui, meaning expansive river mouth, was settled by Europeans in 1831 and was known as Petre until 1854. Economic growth saw the development of strong links with the river and major riverboat operations along the entire river. Today the 100 year old paddle steamer, the PS Waimarie, is a reminder from that bygone riverboat era. The PS Waimarie is moored alongside the Whanganui Riverboat Centre, three minutes from the city centre. Daily cruises are available throughout summer, and on weekends and holidays for the rest of the year. Baldwin Adventure Tours offer riverboat rapids adventure tours on the Whanganui River.
Today, Wanganui is a delightful provincial city. The city abounds with historic buildings, preserved from the early days of European settlement, along with beautiful parks and gardens. A visit to Wanganui is not complete without experiencing a trip to the 'Bridge to Nowhere'. Bridge to Nowhere Tours offer jetboat tours to this historic landmark. Canoe tours on the Whanganui River with Yeti Tours is also a must. Matai Shuttles also offers transport to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The Whanganui River Road is an intimate and adventurous journey, providing access to the lower Whanganui River Valley; it's culture, history, and National Park. Whanganui Tours Ltd offer cycle & canoe tours and trampers transport through this region.
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 heritage of the city. Gaslights, wrought iron garden seats, palm and plane trees all contribute to making this a welcoming shopping environment. This is even further enhanced during summer with Wanganui in Bloom, when hanging baskets decorate shop fronts in the central city.
Welcome to Wanganui…the Historic River City… Well Worth the Journey.
- Scroll down for Wanganui accommodation & activity listings