Whanganui, meaning 'big bay' or ‘big harbour', comes from the great river that flows through it and was one of the first cities to be founded in New Zealand. Previously known as Wanganui, it still features the picture-perfect heritage buildings, world-class museums and established gardens that were developed over a century ago. The architectural beauty is perfectly paired with the town’s natural landscape, you can look in any direction and see a wide river, black sand beaches or rolling green hills with views of Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu in the distance.

Home to hundreds of working artists, Whanganui is always buzzing with creative energy. From the prestigious New Zealand Opera School to the hot kiln studio at New Zealand’s only community glass centre, there is no shortage of artistic talent. The town is also home to numerous galleries, theatres and music venues as well as two impressive art museums: The Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare O Rehua and Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics.