The Whanganui District is home to around 44,500 people and more are moving here every year.
Our size is just right for a fantastic lifestyle: incomes are similar to what you’d make in bigger cities, while our cost-of-living is comparable to much smaller towns. We have access to world-class arts and sports facilities, yet our community remains tight-knit and friendly.
New Residents in 2017
Hanging flower baskets in the CBD
Artworks in the Sarjeant Gallery collection
Volunteer supported organisations
Whanganui is known for having some of the most affordable housing in New Zealand.
Our average house price ($240,000) is significantly less than most cities around New Zealand, so you can have a great home with money left over. The city is full of architectural gems from many eras.
More Money in the Bank
In most industries, salaries in Whanganui are comparable to what you’d earn in a bigger city and the lower cost of living means more in your pocket at the end of each month. With the extra income, you can work less, invest, retire early, take more holidays or spend more on the things you love.
Shrink Your Commute
Another brilliant aspect of Whanganui life are short commuting times. Our compact layout and wide roads mean that most people can get between home and work within fifteen minutes. An ever-expanding network of bike paths offers another great commuting option.
Spring is a great time to get outside, as our parks and gardens come to life in with colour. The average maximum temperature over the spring months is a comfortable 17.5°C and you can expect about nine wet days a month.
Over summer, maximum temperatures average 23°C and the sun is out: we only see about seven rainy days a month. Now is the time to take advantage of our beaches, lakes and the river.
Whanganui is one of the best spots in the North Island to see autumn leaves changing and with average maximum temperatures of 20°C and eleven rainy days a month, you’ll have plenty of chances to get outside and enjoy the sights.
Maximum temperatures average 14.5°C over the winter months. This is also when we see the very occasional frost (we only get about seven frosts a year). We’ll get an average of 12 wet days a month and while we don’t see snow in town, skiers and snowboarders have easy access to the winter playground at Mt Ruapehu.
Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Education caters to children from birth to age five. ECE options in Whanganui include early childhood education centres, home-based care, kindergartens and Te Kohanga Reo programmes.
Primary and Secondary Schools
Whanganui gives you a choice of great primary and secondary schools, including public, private, single-sex, co-ed, rural, special character schools and Kura Kaupapa Māori. Every kid can find their perfect fit here.
Between parks, sports clubs, swimming (in the river, ocean or pool), laser tag, go-karts, mini golf, frisbee golf, school holidays programmes, the library, the Regional Museum, bike paths and BMX tracks, kids keep busy in Whanganui.
WHERE MARKET VALUE HAS A
You can get everything you need in Whanganui. We have the banks, supermarkets, restaurant chains and big box retailers found around New Zealand, plus a wide range of unique grocers, galleries, boutique shops and restaurants. Heritage architecture adds a special character to our CBD, making for a picture-perfect shopping experience.
Whanganui has a rich café culture, with plenty of options for a great coffee and a scone. Victoria Avenue is home to a variety of restaurants and there are also some high-quality neighbourhood restaurants worth seeking out. Our dining scene has been flourishing in recent years, with new restaurants and cafés opening up all the time.
Museums and Galleries
Whanganui has a well-earned reputation as a centre for the arts. The historic Sarjeant Gallery is home of one of the best collections of fine art in New Zealand, the Whanganui Regional Museum has an extensive collection Lindauer portraits and taonga Māori, and Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics includes a comprehensive collection of ceramics. Try your had at glassblowing at the New Zealand Glassworks or shop for local art at our many downtown galleries.
Whanganui’s music scene is known for its quality and diversity. On any given night, you’re as likely to catch an opera as an open-mic night. The Royal Whanganui Opera House and the Whanganui Musician’s Club are both nationally renowned venues, while bars like Lucky Bar + Kitchen and Frank host a wide-range of gigs.
You’ll find plenty of theatre running at The Royal Opera House as well as our two local theatres, the Wanganui Repertory Theatre and the Wanganui Amdram, the oldest Amateur Dramatic Musical Theatre in New Zealand.
Whanganui has a rich literary tradition, having been home to literary luminaries like James K Baxter, Janet Frame, Ian Cross and Robin Hyde. We love the written word and celebrate bi-annually at the Whanganui Literary Festival.
The Great Outdoors
Paddle up the river, cycle the Mountains to Sea trail, hike the Ātene Skyline Track or the Waitahinga Trails, ski Mt Ruapehu, cast a line off the North Mole, hunt in the lowland forest, water-ski across Lake Wiritoa… it’s amazing we ever find the time to go indoors.
Classes, Clubs and Teams
Whanganui offers plenty of opportunities for residents to meet like-minded people. Sign up for a sports team, audition for a play, take a pottery class, learn a language, join a club or volunteer your time to help keep our city vibrant, healthy and beautiful.
There’s always something going on in Whanganui. We have a community calendar full of music, arts, sport, cultural and educational events. We also have a number of major annual events like Artists Open Studios, Vintage Weekend and the Cemetery Circuit Race that draw visitors from around New Zealand and the globe.
Explore New Zealand
Whanganui is centrally located in the North Island and connected to Auckland via daily Air Chathams flights, giving us plenty of options for weekend trips. Within three hours of leaving home, you could be dining out in Wellington, wearing black at Eden Park, sipping wine in Hawkes Bay, skiing Mt Ruapehu, catching waves off Surf Highway 45 or trout fishing in Lake Taupō. The Palmerston North airport, which offers connections to the South Island, is under an hour away.
Eleven GP practices (including afterhours care), 215 beds at Whanganui Hospital and 17 beds at Belverdale Private Surgical Hospital adds up to great healthcare in Whanganui. Residents also have access to specialist treatment at Palmerston North Hospital, just an hour away.
Exercise is part of our citys DNA. Try to beat Peter Snell’s world record-setting mile around the track at Cooks Gardens or row with Olympians on the Whanganui River. Fitness centres, yoga studios, bike paths, sports leagues and two public pools make it easy to stay active in Whanganui. The New Zealand Masters Games is held in Whanganui every two years, with tremendous participation from locals and visitors alike in over 50 individual and team sports.
Whanganui is welcoming to the whole family, including your older loved ones. We’re home to a dozen facilities catering to different requirements, including dementia and psychogeriatric care.
A Safe Community
Whanganui District Council and community stakeholders work together to find evidence-based improvements in areas like road safety, family violence, safety and well-being, alcohol and drugs, emergency planning and justice. The success of this programme was recognised in 2010, when Whanganui was awarded International Safe Community status.
A Welcoming Community
Diversity is an important part of Whanganui’s character and newcomers from around the world find a warm welcome here. In keeping with our famous hospitality, Whanganui is one of nine New Zealand districts taking part in a pilot programme designed to welcome migrants, refugees and international students.
Immigration New Zealand has put together a useful tool that will help you understand what you need to do to make your international move go smoothly.
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