Numerous Wanganui attractions despite snub

By Brendan Manning


Wanganui has a lot to offer tourists this summer, despite being snubbed by a national "must-do" tourism list, says Mayor Annette Main.

The results of AA Tourism's 101 Must-Do's for Kiwis list ranked the country's top attractions.

Ms Main said Whanganui River was one of the key local attractions missing off the list.

"The Whanganui River is our most well-known attribute and it's a shame that we missed the opportunity to have that included."

While there were no Wanganui-specific attractions on the AA list there were numerous attractions on the city's doorstep.

Attractions in the wider region which made the top 101 include Heliview Taranaki, Heliview Ohakune, New Plymouth's WOMAD festival, Mount Taranaki & Egmont National Park, the Forgotten World Highway, Taranaki's beaches, Ohakune Old Coach Road, Turoa and Whakapapa Ski Fields, Surf (State) Highway 45 and Tongariro National Park.

Ms Main said it was nice to see attractions around the area getting a mention on the Must-Do's list as they were all part of Wanganui's wider tourism region.

"Visitors don't actually know which district they're in when they cross a boundary so we really talk about the whole area."

While last year was slower than usual for regional tourism, demand was picking up this year, she said.

"In Wanganui itself we've got a number of events happening over the summer."

The annual Wanganui Boxing Day motorcycle race was a huge attraction for the town, Ms Main said.

According to Statistics New Zealand figures, the Taranaki/Manawatu/Wanganui region's accommodation occupancy rate (excluding holiday parks) was 36.4 per cent in September.

The highest occupancy rate in the region in the past year was in March, at 47.3 per cent.

The highest rating region in the past year was tied between Auckland and Wellington at 71.4 per cent, in March and February respectively.

Tourism Association boss Martin Snedden said the 101 Must-Do's list highlighted the huge range of activities in Kiwis' own backyard. Domestic tourism accounts for $38 million in economic activity daily and adds $13.8 billion a year to the nation's tourism industry, he said.


AA's top five 'Must do for Kiwis'

1. Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa

2. Rotorua's Polynesian Spa

3. Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruises

4. Heliview Taranaki

5. The Otago Central Rail Trail


- Wanganui Chronicle

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