A major gateway to Whanganui National Park, Wanganui is worthy in its own right. Its compact center has lively streets with shops and galleries, plus restored heritage buildings that hark back to colonial times and the busy trading days. The city is home to a vibrant arts community, and locals gather at the River Traders riverside market on Saturday morning for fresh produce and crafts. Restored riverboats cruise the river's lower reaches; gardens, parks, an interesting regional museum, and fine cafés and restaurants complete the picture.
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