Built near the mouth of the river sharing its name, Wanganui is a city overlooked by many tourists and New Zealand locals alike. A vibrant city surrounded by lush hills and mountains, there is plenty for visitors to the area to see and do. With remote coastlines and dense undeveloped forests exploring the area with a rental car is a breathtaking experience. Drive deep into undisturbed forests or along the scenic coast to come across sights and sounds unique to the area. Auto Europe offers several pick up locations and a large rental car fleet, so finding a car rental in Wanganui is both easy and economical.
Wanganui is a city with deep history and culture. The area was settled by Maori long before Europeans arrived, and both cultures have retained their history and connection with the land. Seated in a sheltered valley around a river, with an abundance of food and fertile land, the local population grew to form a city in the mid-1800s and the locals managed to live peacefully through the Land Wars of New Zealand between settlers and Maori. There is a range of activities and attractions in the area, many of which are ideally reached with a hire car.
While in the city, the Wanganui Riverboat Centre Museum provides great information on the history of the area, and primarily the importance of life on the river in the city's early days. Park your rental car in the town centre, and embark on the local heritage walk. This will guide you past historical buildings and monuments that have survived many generations and retain their original charm. Particularly worth a look is the Royal Wanganui Opera House, which is over 100 years old. A drive in your hire car out to Durie Hill is also highly recommended, where a tower has been built from which you can see stunning views of the area.
As Wanganui has been built around the river, much of the local activities are water based and definitely worth checking out. Jet boat rides are a favourite among many visitors to the area, some tours take you as far up the river as the famous Bridge to Nowhere, a bridge built for early farmers in the area. The Bason Botanical Gardens are close to Wanganui also, being only a short 10-minute drive, and here you can learn of the local plants and environment. To see the coastline, park your hire car near Castlecliff Beach, and explore the black sandy beaches which wind along the shore for many kilometres.
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