Wanganui, New Zealand

“Wanganui, really? Why are you going there?”

The question asked every time we mentioned heading to Wanganui, a small town of about 40,000 people on the south coast of the north island in New Zealand. We were keen to investigate the claim that “there’s nothing to do” while we visited my mum’s cousin, or my second cousin, or my dog’s great aunt’s uncle’s sister’s cousin twice removed. I have no idea.

Greeted by Tony, his family and a couple of cold beers we knew we were in for a few days of the easy life. After a day of regrouping Tony and his partner Gaye gave us a tour of the town visiting all the places I have absolutely no recollection of seeing 10 years ago. It was great, how can people be so down about the place?

My sole memory was of a beautiful view, I had no idea where it was but remembered it as clear as day and was keen to get back to see it again. After a short detour to see a couple of cows and some very impressive – and famous I think – sheep (we definitely weren’t lost) we found it, looking down the valley into the Whanganui National Park. Just as I remembered it, a stunning view right on the town’s doorstep.

Wanganui National Park

Just like I remembered.

Wanganui has so much to offer; we strolled around the botanic gardens, climbed the War Memorial Tower, sat enthralled at the glass blowing studio and pondered the idea of kayaking or jet-boating down the Wanganui River over afternoon tea in the park (we’re civilised don’t you know).

Tony and I spent the last night sinking a few cold ones, then a couple more, and then one or two nightcaps exchanging travel stories. From his 7 years spent backpacking, he’s got some pretty impressive tales from the tame to the ones that make your eyes water.

We couldn’t have felt more welcomed into Wanganui, thanks Tony, Gaye and co!

Enough of me talking, I think pictures say it far better. Click on the images to enlarge the pics.

Wanganui Panorama

View from the War Memorial Tower

Tunnel to war memorial Wanganui

Echoing tunnel leading to the war memorial.

War Memorial Tunnel Wanganui

Photographer's dream, this tunnel!

War Memorial Tunnel Wanganui

Bottom's up

Bottom's up.

Tony & the gang.

Tony & the gang, sadly no Gaye that day.

On the road to Taupo

Outside Wanganui now, on the road to Taupo. Mount Egmont in the distance.

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