Time out !

The River City is an ideal place to get away from the madding crowds and en­joy a more re­laxed pace.

Go Travel New Zealand - - Whanganui -

Whanganui is a favourite week­end get­away for peo­ple from all over the coun­try. Vis­i­tor num­bers are in­creas­ing as peo­ple learn more about the place that was once the fourth largest city in New Zealand. His­tory sits eas­ily next to mod­ern cafés and events, ac­com­mo­da­tion for all bud­gets and a beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment to ex­plore.

Lo­cated an hour's flight away from Auck­land with the fam­ily owned and com­mu­nity fo­cused Air Chathams air­line, Whanganui is cen­tral to New Zealand’s North Is­land. A two hour drive from New Ply­mouth or a three hour drive from Welling­ton it’s easy to get to in a short space of time. Whanganui is an ideal place to get away from the madding crowds and en­joy a more re­laxed pace. As the Whanganui River flows through the town and out to the coastal beaches there is a sense of quiet majesty and space for time out.

Ev­ery week­end the river­bank hums with peo­ple vis­it­ing the Whanganui River Traders and Farm­ers Mar­kets whether they’re hav­ing an easy brunch, do­ing their fresh food shop­ping or hunt­ing for unique art and craft. With a num­ber of stalls, buskers and open in rain and sun­shine, the mar­kets are a must-do for a Satur­day morn­ing. It’s ca­sual and

re­laxed with many stop­ping for a chat with neigh­bours, friends and new­com­ers. The his­tory and sto­ries of the river are very real to­day with many vis­i­tors tak­ing the time to sail on one of the river­boats.

A stroll around the city cen­tre al­lows for a self-guided her­itage tour as you peer about the shops to dis­cover the beau­ti­ful build­ings and fa­cades from a cen­tury gone by. The Vis­i­tor Cen­tre and i-SITE was once a ware­house chocka-block full of hard­ware and im­ported goods for the grow­ing town. “Mable”, the town’s re­stored tram, is a beauty, over 100 years old and once op­er­ated be­tween the town cen­tre and Castle­cliff beach for sea­side ex­cur­sions.

Nu­mer­ous artist col­lec­tives and in­de­pen­dent gal­leries fea­ture within the CBD giv­ing

ev­ery­one easy ac­cess and a taste of all the tra­di­tional and quirky art forms abun­dant in Whanganui. Amongst these is the New Zealand Glass­works, a na­tional cen­tre for glass art in Whanganui. Open ev­ery day with lead­ing New Zealand artists work­ing in the gallery, a view­ing floor al­lows vis­i­tors to look down into the hot kiln stu­dio as artists con­duct work­shops and work their magic from the fur­naces.

Stretch your limbs a lit­tle fur­ther and head out to one or more of the nu­mer­ous parks and re­serves in the small city or cy­cle be­side the Whanganui River out to the coast and Tas­man Sea. There is a huge choice of scenic and nat­u­ral walks both in town and fur­ther out. Vir­ginia Lake is her­alded by many on TripAd­vi­sor and loved by lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike. Or visit Ba­son Botanic Gar­dens with six dif­fer­ent ar­eas of gar­den from wet­lands to or­chid house and a tra­di­tional home­stead English gar­den.

Across the river you’ll find a unique un­der­ground el­e­va­tor and tower built in 1919 to help res­i­dents in the hill­side sub­urb make their way to town and back. A pedes­trian tun­nel leads to the el­e­va­tor which is only one of two in the South­ern Hemi­sphere and then you rat­tle and clat­ter your way to the most in­cred­i­ble views. On a bright clear day (of which there are many in Whanganui) you can see Mount Ruapehu in the cen­tral North Is­land and Mount Taranaki on the west coast. You may even catch a glimpse of the top of the South Is­land as well.

Bushy Park is unique as an in­land is­land sanc­tu­ary with an abun­dance of na­tive birds and paths through nat­u­ral for­est. The largest North­ern Rata tree has to be seen to be be­lieved with a girth of over 11 me­tres (36 feet) and aged be­tween 500 and 1000 years. Quiet for­est, beau­ti­ful bird song, breathe in deep the fresh air and re­lax.

Time out any­one? Whanganui is wait­ing for you. Come and say kia ora.

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