We spent just over 5 weeks in Wanganui, New Zealand. You can read about our housesitting experience here! While we were here we spent lots of time exploring the city and found tons of free things to do in Wanganui, a great thing when you are on a budget! Here are some of our top picks.
We enjoyed a couple drives through these botanical gardens, which also include several walking paths, BBQ’s and picnic areas, and indoor orchid and fern gardens.
This lake was just down from the botanical gardens and had a 20-30 minute path around it. It was very different than Virginia Lake, our favorite free thing to do, which you can read about here.. The highlight when we were there was a black swan and her group of babies. There are no benches or tables here, but the walking path is well maintained.
Although it was just the start of spring and a little chilly while we were in Wanganui we did visit the beaches several times, all of which had smooth black sand.
Kai Iwi Beach was just down the road from our housesit and had a very nice beach area as well as a fantastic playground with a great flying fox (zipline). There were also picnic tables and BBQ’s available.
Long Beach had beautiful dunes to explore and some great wildflowers. You could see for miles in both directions, hence the name Long Beach.
Castle Cliff area was one we were warned to stay away from, not the best area of Wanganui, but our beach BBQ’s were both held near Castle Cliff towards Long Beach. The beach was full of driftwood that made for a great bonfire on the beach!
The Wanganui I-Site included a gallery upstairs showcasing some of the local glass works. The I-site itself provided tons of free maps and brochures as well as a friendly staff to answer any questions you had.
A River Walkway was located just outside the I-site and although the river was quite dirty it made for a nice walk on a sunny day. This was also the location of the Saturday market, with local produce, food and gifts for sale.
Sergeant Gallery wasn’t our favorite place, but the interior of the building was impressive. No pictures were allowed since it was an art gallery, worth a look. The art was a little odd for our taste, but they did have a large display of children artwork that was fun to browse.
Wanganui Regional Museum was a very nice museum with a large collection of Maori items including a portrait gallery of prominent local Maoris, a bug collection, ocean animal displays and when we went a large collection of African masks and a Shakespeare costume display. Again no pictures.