From whale-watching and go-karting to spending the day as a sea postie and the night in a haunted castle, there’s no shortage of family fun to be found here: here is No. 95 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
Meanwhile, in Whanganui, hop aboard New Zealand’s only coal-fired paddle steamer, Waimarie, and cruise the Whanganui River. You’ll learn about the river’s significance to local Māori, who have lived on the river for hundreds of years, as well as to the European missionaries and settlers who arrived in the 1800s. Early Māori used the Whanganui River to trade and communicate widely, while vessels such as the Waimarie eventually enabled the city’s settler community to do the same. Drop in to the i-SITE in the city centre to find out more about the riverboat’s sailing calendar and the tours available, and then check out the Riverboat Centre to see maritime relics of the early 20th century.
Other ways to get out and about on the river include taking a jet boat or kayaking tour with Pipiriki-based Whanganui River Adventures, whose guides have an in-depth knowledge of the Māori heritage of the river. They will introduce you to local manaakitanga (hospitality) and give you an understanding of what it means to be kaitiaki (guardian) of the river now the Whanganui River has the legal status of a person.