Summer in Whanganui

Whanganui shines in the summertime. Enjoy the great weather, outdoor activities and a lively events season.


There are great reasons to time your visit to Whanganui around one of our stunner summer events.

Cemetery Circuit

World renowned, this motorcycle street race has been enthralling petrolheads since 1951. The day-long meeting is held on Boxing Day every year.

Masters Games

Local and national athletes take part in nine days of sports competitions every other year (Whanganui hosts on odd-numbered years) at the New Zealand Master’s Games.

Vintage Weekend

Celebrate the best of yesteryear at the biggest party in Whanganui. The weekend’s itinerary is packed with food, music, games, shopping and transportation inspired by the best of days gone by.

Opera Week

Hear New Zealand’s newest opera stars hit the high notes at masterclasses and performances during this celebration of opera, supported by the New Zealand Opera School.


Summer in the city

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the weather without leaving the city

Ride the Riverboats

It wouldn’t be summer in Whanganui without getting on the river. The Paddle Steamer Waimarie and Motor Vessel Wairua both launch from the city and take you on a tour upriver.

Shop the River Markets

The Saturday River Markets are famous as one of the best markets in the North Island. Browse locally-grown food, baked goodies, arts, crafts and more before grabbing lunch and from one of the food stalls and tucking in beside the river.

Castlecliff Beach

Just a ten minute drive or a 30 minute bike ride from the city centre, Castlecliff is our closest beach. There is a patrolled swimming area during the summer and the North Mole by the river mouth is popular with surfers. The black sand gets hot in the sun, but fortunately the Citadel Café is right there for a cold drink, a bite to eat and a chance to cool off in the lush garden the deck.

Virginia Lake

A walk around the lake takes you under some nice shady spots. Grab a cold drink at the Funky Duck Café afterwards.

Insider Tip:

Get around by bike. There’s a comprehensive network of cycle paths throughout Whanganui. Zip from city to sea to suburbs to country café in Upokongaro. You can rent bikes from eBikes Whanganuui and Velo Ronny’s.


Summer around the region

This is the best time to explore the Whanganui River, enjoy a shady walk through the Whanganui National Park, a picnic in the gardens or a swim at our beaches.

Whanganui River Journey/Bridge to Nowhere

Take advantage of the good weather and spend some quality time with the great outdoors. The multi-day Whanganui River Journey is truly a journey to remember. Jet a taste of the journey

Kai Iwi & Ototoka Beaches

One of our most popular beaches, Kai Iwi is great for families. BBQs, a big playground, picturesque cliffs, and a patrolled swimming area in the summer. Looking for something off the beaten path? Ototoka is it. It’s down a 7.3km gravel road, has no toilets or facilities and is glorious. There’s a path down past a waterfall, cliffs, lots of fossils.

Bushy Park Tarapuruhi

Sometimes you need to get some shade. Bushy Park Sanctuary is a predator-free native bird sanctuary, set in lush lowland forest. Explore the park via 3.4km of shady walking tracks. Bird life is thriving in the park and expect to see abundant classic NZ birds like tui, fantails and kereru as well as rarer natives like saddlebacks and hihi.

Windermere Berry Farm

Open from Labour Weekend to April/May, Windermere Farms is a staple of summer in the region. Stop in for berry pancake brunch, fresh berry ice cream, pick-your-own berries and to pat the alpacas.


Where to stay in Whanganui

For a quick overview of what’s available and to book online, use our accommodation widget.

For expert local advice or further help on your stay, contact our Whanganui isite visitor centre or browse our guides on Where to stay.

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