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New Zealand Trade Manual has been designed with travel industry professionals in mind.
  • Selling New Zealand provides you with handy sales tools, quick facts and latest news from the New Zealand travel industry.
  • Travel Planner makes planning New Zealand travel easy. Find itineraries, information on accommodation/transport and more.
  • About New Zealand has everything on New Zealand culture, nature, lifestyle, activities and events that make New Zealand a unique destination.

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Image: Tourism New Zealand, photo by Ian Trafford

Canoe the peaceful Whanganui River. The southwest of the North Island offers a diverse slice of New Zealand, encompassing rugged farmland, wild rainforest and down-to-earth provincial Kiwi towns.

From high in the rugged hills of Whanganui National Park, to the town of Whanganui, from the unpretentious university city of Palmerston North to villages where you can join gumboot-clad locals at a country pub, this region invites you to take a detour off the tourist trail and create your own authentic New Zealand experience.

Download the Wanganui & Manawatu section from New Zealand Trade Manual 2013

Whanganui & Manawatu (from New Zealand Trade Manual 2013) (957)


Whanganui River Deep in the heart of the rainforest, the Whanganui River is a magical place of deep spiritual significance to local Maori. Whanganui National Park A rugged landscape draped in lush rainforest and offering great opportunities for walking and overnight hikes. Mokai Gravity Canyon Near Taihape is a rugged river gorge offering extreme adventure activities – from flying fox to bridge swing. Art galleries Whanganui’s Sarjeant Art Gallery is renowned for its neo-classical architecture, while Te Manawa in Palmerston North combines museum, gallery and science centre. Maori culture A deep sense of culture pervades Whanganui – dotted along the river, in Whanganui National Park, are several marae. Feilding The pretty country town of Feilding, just outside Palmerston North, is a great place to experience country life.


Whanganui Great eateries and a renowned art gallery on the Whanganui River. Bulls Popular stop off that trades on its name with quirky ‘bull-themed’ street signs. Taihape Small country town in the rugged Rangitikei District. Palmerston North Small provincial university city. Feilding Pretty farming village known for its stockyard tours and farmers’ market. Mangatainoka Home of the historic Tui HQ Brewery.

Getting There and Around

Air Whanganui Airport, 8 km from the CBD, offers flights to Auckland, Wellington and Taupo. Palmerston North Airport, on the northern outskirts, has flights to Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Christchurch. Road Whanganui is 2 hours, 45 minutes from Wellington and 6 hours, 30 minutes from Auckland. Palmerston North is 2 hours, 5 minutes from Wellington and 7 hours, 40 minutes from Auckland. Whanganui to New Plymouth [160 km; 2 hr, 15 min] New Plymouth to Hamilton [231 km; 3 hr, 20 min] Whanganui to Palmerston North [74 km; 1 hr, 5 min] Palmerston North to Wellington [145 km; 2 hr, 5 min] Palmerston North to Napier [178 km; 2 hr, 35 min] Rail Palmerston North is on the main trunk line from Auckland to Wellington.

Making the Sale

  • Multi-day canoe journeys on the Whanganui River are an amazing adventure – guided and non-guided options are available.
  • The Sarjeant Art Gallery in Whanganui is a major highlight for art lovers.
  • The Rangitikei, north of Manawatu, offers a rugged country region to explore.
  • Palmerston North and Manawatu offer good cycling opportunities both on- and off-road. See for details on cycling trails.

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