Make the Most of Whanganui

Heading to Whanganui for a holiday? With a lively art scene, historic buildings and cosy cafes, this charming town is the perfect destination for a getaway. From admiring intricately crafted art to sunset riverboat cruises, we’ve listed the premium experiences to discover during your stay. 

Uncover History 

One of the best ways to learn about a new area is to visit local museums. Filled to the brim with history and culture, Whanganui is known for its unique art and talented local creators. Quartz, Museum of Studio Ceramics, is a beautiful place worth a visit to admire such works. As the only museum in the country dedicated to studio ceramics, it’s a must for art lovers visiting Whanganui. Exhibitions here display pottery, sculpture works and stoneware from an array of artists local to Aotearoa / New Zealand and Whanganui. If you’re looking to learn about history, the Whanganui Regional Museum is great for an in-depth look at natural and human history. Known for its Taonga Māori collection, the museum showcases social history, transport, technology, and geological artefacts relating to both the country and the region. Fine art collectors can also head to Space Studio and Gallery to view current works on sale from ten Whanganui-based artists. The stockroom comprises a wide collection of art from contemporary paintings to glassworks, promising something for everyone.  

 Quartz Museum Whanganui

Unique Dining 

With a world full of flavours to explore, dining is one of the most exciting parts of being on holiday. From trying out local eats to savouring flavours in a myriad of settings, discover the best dining in Whanganui and its surroundings. Not only a cafe, but an experience in the heart of Whanganui, Caroline’s Boatshed Bar and Eatery is nestled on the banks of the Whanganui River. Loaded burgers and sandwiches are on offer here, as well as freshly caught seafood and house-made sweets to perfectly complement the river views and friendly atmosphere. Seeking something more contemporary? Mint Cafe and Bar is a vibrant brunch spot on Whanganui’s main street. Serving breakfast classics, salads, and barista-made coffee, it’s an excellent place to stop for an espresso or delight in a flavourful meal. When dinner time rolls around, head to Frank. Bar and Eatery - a trendy cocktail bar with bites perfect for sharing; and it’s created by the owners of Mint Cafe! Enjoy a relaxed dinner here with burgers and pizzas or indulge in late-night drinks with an extensive cocktails menu that’ll leave you spoiled for choice. Always remember to assign a designated driver for your rental car when drinking alcohol throughout your road trip. 

Get Inspired 

Elevate your escape to Whanganui by immersing yourself in the area’s natural beauty. From the historic Whanganui River to the wilderness of the National Park, the town boasts an array of scenic landscapes, allowing you to truly relax and bask in the holiday feeling. Pack a picnic and cheers to a nature-filled getaway at one of Whanganui’s favourite recreational spots - Rotokawau Virginia Lake. The lake is a stunning place to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the atmosphere like a local. Head on a peaceful stroll around the lake’s perimeter, admire the sculptures scattered throughout and discover the native birdlife that roam the area. Explore even more with a drive to the Bushy Park Tarapuruhi Forest Sanctuary and Historic Homestead. Just over 20 minutes from the town centre in your Hertz rental car, here you can wander through the sanctuary to see native flora and fauna thrive, watch hihi / stitchbird at the bird feeders and admire Rātānui - one of the country’s largest trees. Once you’ve roamed the forest trails and wetland boardwalks, enjoy Devonshire tea at the Bushy Park Homestead. A country-style home, the Homestead is available for overnight stays in a bed-and-breakfast setting. Bushy Park is a mainland predator-free island. Remember to check your shoes, vehicles and bags for rats and mice, weed seeds or plant material before and after your visit. 

Bushy Park 

Sail Away 

The heart of Whanganui lies in the sparkling waters of the Whanganui River, and a cruise along the water is the perfect way to round out your holiday. Hop onboard a coal-fired paddle steamer for a cruise like no other on the Waimarie. Offering 11 am and 2 pm cruises and a plethora of themed cruises - including jazz cruises, vintage cruises and country and western cruises - a voyage on the Waimarie is the perfect way to see the sights and make the most of your time in Whanganui. Also offering private charters and gin cruises, the Waimarie allows you to journey in luxury. If you’d like to learn about local history onboard a vintage riverboat, the Motor Vessel Wairua is also available on the Whanganui River. Book a heritage river cruise or enquire about a personalised private charter for an exceptional cruise experience. 

Whanganui River

From scoping out the area’s premium restaurants to watching the sunset on a river cruise, Whanganui has so much to offer. With endless ways to explore the region and all its delights,
you’re in for a treat when you holiday to Whanganui with a Hertz rental vehicle.