Whanganui was one of the first cities to be founded in New Zealand. Whanganui, meaning 'big bay' or ‘big harbour', comes from the great river that flows through it.
Whanganui is a place steeped in history, art and culture. Big enough to draw crowds and small enough to be intimate. There is something here for everyone. It is surrounded by mountains, Mount Taranaki, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Tongariro, a beautiful natural landscape, dramatic west coast beaches and unspoilt native bush for tramping and wilderness trips. The vibrant community prides itself on its parks and reserves, cycle and walk ways and an abundance of creativity.
Prominent heritage buildings in the city include the Whanganui Opera House and the Sarjeant Art Gallery. Whanganui is home to New Zealand’s largest arts community with more fine arts, mixed media and glass artists than anywhere else in the country, and boasts the country's only Glass School.
Visit the regional museum and see the magnificent collection of Lindauer portraits and Maori treasures. And have a look at one of the more unusual attractions, the earthbound elevator that rises to the top of Durie Hill. Notable events hosted here include the lively motorcycle Cemetery Circuit Street Races, the Vintage Weekend every year in mid January, and the Mountains to Sea Multisport, a 270km undertaking across untouched native forest trails and other spectacular scenery galore. The Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail is the longest and most diverse in the country