walkways in whanganui
Whanganui is one of New Zealand’s most interesting and distinctive places to visit and with our temperate climate and lots of sunshine hours it’s a great place to cycle and walk!
Many of the walks take in parks, gardens and reserves including our five premier parks. All the areas are significant to Whanganui’s cultural heritage so take the time to seek out points of interest and a little of our history – a great time can be had walking and cycling in Whanganui!
Beach Walks In Whanganui
All of Whanganui’s Four Beaches are great places for walking and enjoying the outdoors! Some popular walks are walking from Kai Iwi Beach to Castlecliff Beach – a 12km easy walk taking approximately 2 to 3 hours. A beautiful, black sand beach walk at low tide from Kai Iwi Beach to Castlecliff Beach.
Another also begins at Kai Iwi Beach and goes to Okehu Strem – from the same starting point as the above walk but 2 hours in the other direction and again only to be done at low tide. Beach area and surrounds offer great areas for Walking And Cycling In Whanganui.
There are many places to enjoy walking on the beaches of whanganui – read more about our beaches on our Whanganui beaches page here!
parks and gardens walkways
Bason Botanic Gardens
Set rurally 11kms from the centre of Whanganui, Bason Botanic Gardens covers 25 hectares and is rated a ‘Garden of Significance’ by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. It includes one of the most extensive public garden orchid collections in New Zealand and unique conservatory archictecture. Its history is that of a magnanimous gift from Stanley and Blanche Bason to the Wanganui City in 1966. The Millennium Hill is planted with a Mediterranean theme and enhanced with sculpture. Open daily from 8:00am until dusk, there are extensive plantings of native and exotic trees and is popular for wedding ceremonies. Free BBQ’s and picnic areas and a number of walking trails make this is a great family place. www.basonbotanicgardens.org.nz
Bushy Park Wildlife Sanctuary
Bushy Park Reserve is a 100 hectare native forest sanctuary kept predator‑free for native birds and is ranked one of Australasia’s ‘Top 25’ Restoration Projects. There are 3.4km of easy all‑weather walking tracks throughout the forest and a huge variety of bird life and species of trees. Don’t miss ‘Ratanui’, believed to be the biggest northern rata, 43 metres high with a girth of more than 11 metres with an age of between 500 and 1000 years.
While you’re there, visit the 22 room 1906 Edwardian‑era homestead and enjoy a picnic. You can also book accommodation here and enjoy a peaceful stay in the magnificent heritage homestead. Campervans are welcome to stay, too! Contact the Whanganui i-SITE Visitor Information Centre for more details.
Whanganui’s ‘Garden of National Significance’, Paloma is a spectacular privately owned garden at Fordell. A collection of exotic plants from around the world form a Bamboo Forest, Garden of Death and a Desert House. Lovely picnic areas and dotted with sculptures, Paloma Gardens also offers some charming and unique accommodation options. Entry fee applies. www.paloma.co.nz
A wildlife refuge providing the natural environment for wildfowl and native birds, making an enjoyable half hour walk around the lake.
tramping, hiking, longer walks in whanganui
A collection of walks at the no longer used Whanganui Water Catchment Reserve. The walks vary for different fitness levels with picnic spots and look outs.
Most of the walking trails are under native forest canopy with a combination of original forest and very old regeneration. Peaceful and beautiful, the Waitahinga Dam makes for a worthwhile destination.
Atene skyline track
For the more serious walker or hiker the Ātene Skyline Track is a 6 to 8 hour round trip with steep climbs through Whanganui National Park.
A campsite midway provides shelter, water and a toilet. The highest point of the track is at 572m. The Viewpoint Walk is a 2 hour return uphill walk to a lookout point.
mountain biking in whanganui
Mountain biking is popular in Whanganui and the local club has ensured access
to local forests and other mountain bike areas within the district with the generosity of the forest operators. The Wanganui Mountain Bike Club maintains and develops riding areas for the community and members and tremendous effort goes into these trails for your enjoyment. Here are some great areas for Walking And Cycling In Whanganui.
Araheke Mountain Bike Park
This popular park has 9km of trail in two separate areas joined by a short section of road. The access turnoff is signposted on State Highway 3, 3km south of the Whanganui River motorway bridge, onto Kaitoke Rd. It is another 3km to Lake Wiritoa Reserve carpark. There are toilets and a swimming area. Accommodation is available (camping and cabins) at the adjoining Scoutlands Campsite. Please be aware that walkers and dogs also use the tracks.
Hylton Pit Mountain Bike Park
Hylton Park has something to offer all riders as this is the cross country venue for the NZ Masters Games and the North Island School Secondary Championships. Trails are generally suitable for beginners to intermediate riders. The level of difficulty greatly increases in wet conditions.
This is an operational forest 20km north of Whanganui. From SH4 turn right into Old Parapara Rd and onto Mangaone Rd, Park at the picnic area on the left before the main locked gate. All forest roads can only be ridden on Sundays. This includes Mangaone Rd which is the main forest road and is the easiest option to reach the start of all the downhill tracks. From the locked gate it is a steepish uphill for 3.2km and then left up the steeper Airstrip Rd which then flattens out and from which all the trails start. Off road tracks tend to be muddy in the Winter. Great downhill riding.
A recreational reserve with a mixture of native and exotic trees donated to the town by the Matipo Land Company in 1913. Walking and mountain bike tracks throughout and a 30 minute ride maximum.
This Whanganui District Council owned Park is also available for walkers, horseriding and bikers. All tracks are steep and most single tracks are grade 4 and above.
Mountains To Sea Cycle Trail
The Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail is the most diverse in NZ. With a range of sections in Ruapehu, the final stages travel down the Whanganui River Road, through the natural and cultural heritage of the Māori and early Europeans.
There is something to suit riders of all abilities, from the most daring and adventurous to more relaxed sections with amazing scenery.
To complete the full Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail begin at the mountains of the Central Volcanic Plateau and ride to the Whanganui River. Travel by jet boat from the Mangapurua Landing to Pipiriki, and follow the trail down the historic Whanganui River Road before traversing all the way to the Tasman Sea through the boardwalks and paths of urban Whanganui.
The full trail takes approximately 5 days so have some fun and do it over a couple of weekends as you take the time to enjoy mountain views, historic railway viaducts, a visit to the Bridge to Nowhere, canoeing the Whanganui River and the richness of natural and cultural heritage along the Whanganui River Road.
Engage with locals, absorb the serenity and history as you cycle alongside the Whanganui River through the small settlements of the Whanganui River Road. A range of accommodation options are available. An excellent choice for Walking And Cycling In Whanganui.