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Top 5 Things To Do In Wanganui-Manawatu


Top 5 Things To Do In Wanganui-Manawatu

story by: Tom Ricketts

Palmerston North and Wanganui are easily the two biggest towns in the Manawatu region between Wellington and Taupo. The regions rugged and rolling terrain is dominated by farming and forestry, and Palmerston North is home to one of New Zealand’s largest universities. There’s regular flights to Wanganui and flights to Palmerston North with Air New Zealand. What’s to do when you get there? Here’s our top five…

The Whanganui River
New Zealand’s third largest river has a surprisingly long and interesting history that has even been made into a feature film. Maori were of course the first to ply her waters in their waka, followed by European river boats, paddlers, steamers and even British war ships seeking to overcome the Maori high in the headwaters in one of their last strongholds. Today it’s the domain of canoes and speed boats taking tourists to see the rugged beauty of the Whanganui National Park and iconic Bridge to Nowhere, a relic of early settlers and their ambitious attempts to tame the rugged landscape.

Te Manawa
Palmy is home to Te Manawa, a large complex that houses the city’s museum, art gallery, science centre, and perhaps the most exciting feature, the New Zealand Rugby Museum. Here you can learn our long history of the game and see pieces ranging from the first ever All Blacks jersey to Dan Carters boots.

Unfortget-a-bull? Adore-a-bull? Cringe-a-bull? Small country towns go to all lengths to entice passing motorists to stop and have a look around, but Bulls must take the cake. The town has featured everything is can with a pun of its name... The police station is ‘const-a-bull’, the supermarket has ‘veget-a-bull’ and the medical centre has ‘cure-a-bull’. If that’s not enough, the towns sister city in the UK is named Cowes.

Deserted Beaches
The South Taranaki Bight stretches roughly from Wanganui to the Kapiti Coast and all along the coast are beautiful, windswept and remote beaches. There’s very few beachside towns and most of those are full of baches so you’ll often have the entire stretch of beach to yourself.

Durie Hill
Just across the Whanganui River you’ll find the Durie Hill. Carved hundreds of metres into the hill is a tunnel which leads to an elevator almost 100 years old. The elevator then takes you 70 metres up to the top of the hill where you’re treated to awesome views over the town. If you want to go higher, club the adjacent war memorial tower for a real workout!

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