See You Soon Whanganui
See You Soon Whanganui
“A big thank you for a relaxing weekend. I loved our walk along the Whanganui River – watching people fish, kids biking and playing in Kowhai Park - what a fun place to be. Then the drive up the Whanganui River Road to Jerusalem, amazing views - those millennia old oyster beds in the cliffs were spectacular.
The Sarjeant Gallery was a find [their new, temporary home in an historic building on Taupo Quay] when we had to duck inside during a shower of rain, and the exhibitions really struck a chord - Ans Westra’s insightful photos of local people from 1960 to the present day and Jeff Thomson’s quirky corrugated iron creations. I didn’t know he had been artist in residence here. And there are so many talented local artists. That beautiful piece of deep green patterned glass I bought at the Sarjeant’s shop is sitting on my desk at work now.
Whanganui is a really easy place to be in - the buildings aren’t too tall, the streets are wide and there are plenty of shops to browse. I see there will be more when a new retail complex opens on Victoria Avenue. And there’s a great range of cafes, bars and restaurants – Ceramic, Delicious, Elements, Stellar, Riverside Bar, Angora, Spice Guru - and the Rutland Hotel is one of the many heritage buildings that give the place a unique atmosphere. It’s kind of comfy as well grand.
The fine days were amazingly warm for winter – I was so glad to be out of the southerly that was battering Wellington. The band at Riverside Bar was very cool – great venue in another historic building, and the meal afterwards at was so tasty and reasonably priced. There’s a lot going on actually – many weekends worth so I’m looking forward to my next R&R away from the big smoke and traffic jams. When did you say the next show is happening at the Opera House?”
Whanganui is a favourite weekend getaway destination for people from all over the country. The river city is easily accessible - two and half hours drive from Wellington or just an hour’s plane flight from Auckland.
Marilyn Head escaped for a long weekend from her job as policy analyst in Wellington and arranged to meet friends from Auckland at the Whanganui River Traders market. They bought fresh, locally grown fruit, vegetables and goat cheese, hangi, puha pesto, and a chic, Russian style possum fur hat.
“The market is just the right size,” Marilyn says. “You don’t feel hassled or overwhelmed and people here have time to talk and help you out. Everything is so affordable and such good quality. We saw stunning displays of art at the i-Site upstairs gallery. The glasswork is out of this world. I love the fact that it’s ordinary people making unpretentious statements about their environment and bringing beautiful things into our lives.”
For information about other Whanganui attractions and events see: http://whanganuinz.com/