Plan a Romantic Getaway or Honeymoon to Whanganui
Nestled between the majestic Whanganui River and the rugged coast lining the Tasman Sea, Whanganui city is pleasantly off-the-beaten-track and pleasantly authentic. Of course, the river is a highlight of any couples’ stay, which can be experienced with a relaxing river cruise to a teamwork mission on the multi-day Whanganui Journey Great Walk. The city itself inspires romance with beautiful public gardens, a stargazing observatory and casual eateries ideal for couples. As for places to stay, you have cosy B&Bs to characterful homesteads to enjoy.
Plan your romantic getaway or honeymoon, including what to do, where to stay and where to eat, with this complete honeymoon guide to Whanganui.
Romantic Things to Do in Whanganui
- Smell the flowers at Bason Botanic Gardens
- Enjoy a romantic stroll around Virginia Lake
- Do a romantic cruise down the Whanganui River
- Or tackle the Whanganui Journey together
- See Whanganui’s beautiful beaches
- Enjoy a bike ride alongside the river
- See the love birds at Bushy Park Wildlife Sanctuary
- Admire the amazing carvings of Pukiti Church
- Watch the stars at the Ward Observatory
- Treat your loved one to a romantic dinner.
For more information on each experience, check out the 10 Romantic Activities in Whanganui for Couples.
Romantic Adventure Activities
From picturesque parks to breathtaking beaches, there are many stunning spaces in Whanganui to provide a romantic backdrop to your honeymoon.
Start with a stroll in one of Whanganui’s beautiful parks like Virginia Lake or the Bason Botanic Gardens. Smell the extensive array of orchids and wander around the beautiful brick conservatory at the Bason Botanic Garden. With free gas barbecue facilities and wide-open spaces, it’s the perfect place for a romantic picnic. Alternatively, Virginia Lake is closer to town and features an easy walk around the lake alive with birdlife, from pukeko to swans. It’s also where you’ll find the Whanganui Winter Gardens, as well as a cosy cafe.
Whanganui, of course, is the ideal place to experience the world’s only river that has a legal entity status! Vintage riverboat cruises are a romantic way to see the Whanganui River from the city, with the Motor Vessel Wairua. Their Hipango Park Picnic Cruise takes you to a stunning park only accessible by river complete with Maori sites of significance, bush walks, barbecues and more. Alternatively, their Upokongaro Cruise takes you up the river to a historic hotel for dinner. Cruises on the Whanganui River can also be enjoyed with Waimarie, New Zealand’s only coal-fired paddle steamer.
Stargazing is a simple yet romantic way to spend an evening together, especially in New Zealand with the Southern Hemisphere stars being so prominent. Enhance the experience with one of the Friday public viewings at the Ward Observatory. Located in Cooks Gardens, the Ward Observatory is home to a 24cm telescope where you can see the stars and Saturn on a clear night through its powerful lens.
For more inspiration for active activities, like visiting Kai Iwi or Castlecliff Beaches, cycling along the river or something else, check out the 10 Romantic Activities in Whanganui for Couples.
Romantic All-weather Activities
Whanganui has a range of indoor attractions to enjoy no matter what the weather is doing. Learn something new at the Whanganui Regional Museum, be inspired by artwork at the Sargeant Gallery, or make your own glass art at New Zealand Glassworks. We go through them all in the 10 Things to Do in Whanganui on a Rainy Day. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for something particularly romantic, then we recommend a visit to the Putiki Church.
There’s something quite endearing about wandering the intricately carved Pukiti Church, also known as St Pauls Memorial Church. The church is beautifully lit so you can admire the Maori carvings and tukutuku (wall panels) in all of their splendour. Guided tours are also available of the church, which you can book through the Whanganui i-SITE.
Romantic Restaurants in Whanganui
If you find romance in the casual, rather than lavish fine dining affairs, then you’ll love what Whanganui has to offer. Whanganui’s main restaurants are an interesting mix of European, South American and Japanese cuisine, starting with Japanese meals which can be enjoyed in the attractive alfresco environment of the Japanese Kitchen WA (92 Victoria Avenue). Dishes are authentic and well-presented, but make sure you book a table at this popular spot.
We also like La Quattro (13 Victoria Avenue), a Mexican restaurant that does a colourful array of cocktails and delicious Mexican dishes ideal for sharing.
Finally, for the likes of New Zealand lamb, New Zealand green-lipped mussels and European-style food, check out places like Stellar Restaurant & Bar (2 Victoria Avenue), Rutland Arms (48-52 Ridgway Street) and Caroline’s Boatshed Bar and Eatery (181 Somme Parade).
See more dining recommendations in The Luxury Guide to Whanganui.
More About Whanganui
- 10 Unforgettable Things to Do in the Whanganui National Park
- 10 Whanganui Must-Dos
- 8 Luxury Activities in Whanganui
That’s it for our honeymoon guide to Whanganui. You can find even more honeymoon tips in The Honeymoon Guide to New Zealand.