If you know, you know. This small riverside and seaside town is artsy, attractive and also holds some delicious secrets.
Start with a view. Cross the river and head to Durie Hill to climb the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower. The tower was opened in 1925 but its history goes much further back - the sandstone it's built from was quarried from a nearby site, and is several million years old. The climb is 176 steps and will take you 113m above sea level.
The panoramic views take in the bridge, the river, the town and the sea. You can also see Taranaki and Ruapehu from here. The Underground Elevator, built in the 1920s, was closed on a recent visit, but the tower is still accessible - you just need to get yourself up that hill.
Back down and into the city, the Whanganui iSite is just over the other side of the river. Grab a map to navigate yourself to the excellent Whanganui Regional Museum. Compact and filled with history, art and taonga, it is a great place to make time for, even on a flying visit.
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On your walk back to town, take yourself past Article Cafe & Vintage Store. It's in the old Whanganui Chronicle building and you can grab a coffee and a slice of cake before browsing the second-hand clothing, games and collectables on sale in the back. There are also local arts and crafts, such as pottery, knitwear and macrame. Take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the building is, with its high moulded ceilings, polished timber floors, enormous street-facing windows.
A few doors down you'll find NZ Glassworks. Wander in to browse the gallery upstairs, and watch glassblowers at work downstairs. x
Peckish from the walk? Wander around the corner to Honest Kitchen, where the cabinet has a great range of salads, savouries, wraps and slices. The takeaway packaging and cutlery are all biodegradable. Get in just before lunchtime if you want to avoid the queues.