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Family Fun

Whanganui family friendly things to do and places to visit

  • 3 minutes


Discover a great playground, Kowhai Park with a nearby arboretum. Explore local beaches and build a temporary driftwood castle. Camp by the beach or swim in the Whanganui river at Mosquito Point. Spend time at Whanganui Splash Centre or enjoy foodie treats at Whanganui Riverside Saturday market. And everyone will enjoy a quick elevator ride to the top of Durie Hill Tower. And something unique, The Whanganui settlers story in stained glass depicted in the Whanganui local government Council Chambers.


Kai Iwi Beach, (Whanganui / Horowhenua)

  • Classic Holiday park is where holiday memories are created
  • Mowhanau beach intertidal rock pools
  • Safe estuary swimming in either Mowhanau or Kai Iwi streams
  • Playground with toilets, picnic tables and public BBQ
  • West Coast driftwood strewn beach with plenty to reimagine as your temporary sand castle
  • Lifeguards (volunteers) on duty during peak summer season weekends
  • Windermere Farm is a great place to stop pick your own berries or indulge in a fresh fruit ice cream

Find a local favourite for winter walks along the iron sands and cliffs or relax in summer as families paddle in the estuary and the tantalizing scent of BBQ.  The small residential community are fiercely proud of their place in FindaBeach New Zealand. Whanganui Surf Life Saving Club patrol the area on summer weekends and primary school holidays.

… read more Kai Iwi Beach

Riverland Family Park

Riverland Family Park is located next to Kowhai Park. Try your hand at club kart rides for children 7-10 years, action karts for 10 years and older, double go karts – adult with an under 7-year-old, 18-hole mini putt, bicycle hire, E-bikes, bungy trampoline for those 10kg-60kg. Closed shoes are needed for some activities. The park caters for group bookings, school outings, birthday parties, business functions and team building.

Kowhai spring flowers with tui feeding on nectar, New Zealand

Kowhai playground

Innovative play sculptures, from squiggly octopus to dinosaurs. Find a pirate ship and jump in puddles in the water maze.

… read more Whanganui gardens and parks 

River traders market

Find out where the locals shop on Saturday by the misting Whanganui River as it greets the day. The eclectic mix of items ranges from artisan breads, farmer’s produce and garden plants to art and crafts. There are pop up food stalls offering breakfast / brunch treats and plenty of second hand goods to gladden the heart of collectors everywhere.

@Whanganui River Markets
@Whanganui River Markets

For kids and families interested in heritage remember to check out Whanganui heritage trail and Whanganui River heritage trail for holiday inspiration.

A favourite with kids are the STAINED GLASS WINDOWS of the Whanganui Council Chambers.


Whanganui River journey

Try out a new adventure with family and friends paddling, in a canoe on the Whanganui River. Kids are not the most reliable paddlers consider joining a guided tour with a Canadian canoe where smaller people can simply float along the river as the more experienced paddlers. Remember life jackets at all times and water confidence is a must.


  • Showering under the waterfall
  • Paddling over the rapids and eddies
  • Jet boating
  • Bridge to Nowhere walk

Take the kids to NZ Glassworks to watch the creation of glass, the power of fire and liquid glass is a Wow, Whanganui moment.

Castlecliff beach

  • large playground
  • skate park behind the sand dunes
  • lifeguards in the summer.
  • Low tide walks under the cliff face
  • Watch or surf ‘North Mole’ break
  • Toilets, campground and local shops

South beach walk – driftwood wild West Coast

A remote beach where intrepid surfers challenge the elements, the wind whips around the ocean swells and driftwood piles up in mountains on the iron sands.


A slow leisurely cruise on the Whanganui River on the Waimarie steamboat is heaven for parents however small children might be not so interested.

Whanganui Splash Centre

The joy of parents and caregivers is a hydroslide, pools for learners and hot pool to soak in. Enjoy the thrill of a lazy river and hearing the shrieks of joy as kids enjoy the indoor attractions of Splash Centre. There is even a hydrotherapy pool for those who like water very hot. Outdoors is a skate and bike park to work off excess energy.

Entrance fees apply



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