April 24, 2009

Some Photos from my Hometown Wanganui

The Waimarie paddle steamer Wanganui New ZealandWanganui, the town I grew up in New Zealand, is not exactly "on the map", but perhaps that's because it suffers from an inconvenience of its geography; it's not on the beaten track. Most people, if they aren't flying, make a bee-line down the center of the North Island when driving from Auckland to Wellington. To visit places like Wanganui, New Plymouth, Napier, Hastings etc. means a side-trip to either of the coasts, and since everyone is just trying to get from A to B in the shortest and quickest manner, the cities on the east and west coasts of the North Island miss out on a lot of casual visitors.

But if you ever get to visit New Zealand and you have the time, a side trip to a place like Wanganui can reward you with some surprises not available elsewhere. Wanganui is known as "The River City", a claim that many towns and cities in New Zealand could make, but I guess Wanganui got there first. It is the only river in New Zealand that is designated as a national park, I believe, and the river is rich in both Maori and early white settler history. At one time the river was such an active means of communication and travel that a fleet of 12 steam-powered river boats plied up and down its navigable length

Wanganui water towerThe city also sports two towers of notable architectural significance, and neither of them lean - eat your heat out, Pizza! The main street "Victoria Avenue" is graced by well-maintained Victorian era buildings adorned in the summer months with bright displays of hanging baskets of annual flowers. The city is also home to a vigorous polytech that focuses on the arts and design.

So if you ever get the chance, check out my home town.

In the photos of Wanganui that I have posted, you'll get to see the river steamer the "Waimarie" which sails daily in the summer and most weekends in the winter. Then you'll see a view of the volcano Mount Ruaphehu as seen from my brother's place, and then some shots of the Wanganui water tower. Oh, and there's a photo of "me mum" too. Enjoy

Some useful links if planning a trip to Wanganui:

Information about Wanganui

The Waimarie river boat

The Wanganui Regional Museum

Fodor's Guide to the Whanganui River National Park

The Sarjeant Art Gallery

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