Parks & Reserves


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Whanganui has a large number of parks and reserves which provide people with opportunities for passive recreation e.g. walking or picnicking, and active recreation e.g. playing sport. The parks and reserves add to the overall pleasantness, image values and family-friendly philosophy of the District. Some of them help us to conserve local historic features and significant natural areas.

Whanganui has a number of premier parks that are maintained to high standards and provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities, which may include playgrounds, for residents and visitors to enjoy. They are significant to Whanganui's cultural heritage.​ Examples include Kowhai Park, Bason Botanic Gardens and Queens Park.

Other parks and reserves provide safe, informal, active and passive recreation opportunities with easy family access in suburban areas e.g. Lorenzdale Park. There are playgrounds o​n some of the parks e.g. Webb Road Park, Wembley Pl​ace Reserve and generally there are grassed areas for a range of informal recreational activities e.g. Lake Wiritoa Reserve​​​.

Booking a park

Whanganui has several parks and reserves that are ideal locations for events like weddings and children’s birthday parties, e.g. Kowhai Park, Virginia Lake Reserve and Bason Botanic Gardens.

To book a park, please complete the Application below which can be returned to the Council office at 101 Guyton Street and a Council officer will be in touch. 

There is a non-refundable Administration Charge of $50.00 per booking. Depending on the event, there may be a refundable deposit against damage to the reserve, or a rental charge if the event is commercial or is requiring exclusive use.

There may be other things to consider. Please review the Open Space Application Guidelines prior to submitting your booking and complete, if applicable, the Community Event Risk Assessment and Management Form (RAMS).  

If you require more information, please contact 349 0001.​

Sports grounds

A total area of 113 hectares e.g. Cooks Gardens, Springvale Park, Wembley Park. The intention is to supply sufficient ground space for organised sports where codes do not provide it themselves. In addition, sports and leisure programmes are provided through Community Contracts e.​​g. junior cricket. There are user charges for sports grounds.
If you wish to use Wembley Park for an event, please contact Sport Whanganui.

Pathway reserves

Bens Place walkway, M​​outoa Quay Reserve, Riverbank Reserve, Moutoa Quay Riverfront Development, Taupo Quay Esplanade. They provide interconnection between existing parks and open space, leading to and encircling existing reserve land while making use of Whanganui’s association with both river and coast.

Conservation ​​​parks

These areas encompass both wilderness reserves (1016 hectares) and conservation reserves (469 h​ectares). There is minimal development of facilities and they provide for active recreation opportunities such as orienteering and mountain biking e.g. Hyltons Pit, Ototoka Beach. (View more details on the Wanganui Mountain Bike Club website). Conservation areas in particular provide for the conservation of the natural environment e.g. Westmere Lake, Hogg Park.

Road re​serves ​

On almost every urban street, a total area of 2.16 hectares (includes 10,000 street trees, planting on roundabouts, traffic islands and typically includes the grass verges between the road and the footpath). T​​hey maintain the safe visibility of the roads while beautifying the streets and providing areas for recreation opportunities such as walking and jogging.​

The Parks and Open Spaces Strategy (PDF, 561KB) was adopted in 2007. The strategy is the policy document which outlines how ne​​​eds of the community will be met in sustainable ways and identifies a number of key objectives and actions required to do this.​

Walkways​​​ and shared pathways

The ​Wanganui District has a variety of walkways and shared pathways. You can view them in the  Whanganui New Zealand Shared Pathw​ays brochure (PDF, 2.88MB) produced by Visit Whanganui.

Westme​re Walkway

Westmere Walkway, which has recently been gazetted, traverses rolling countryside and provides magnificent views over the city and the river.

Located to the north of Whanganui, the track is steep in sections and requires a moderate level of fitness. This walkway crosses private land and visitors are asked to stick to the marked route, respect all signposted conditions of access and follow the New Zealand Outdoor Access Code.​​

Walking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes loop
Length: 4.6km
Created: 23 December 2013

Waitahinga Trails

Waitahinga Trails, located near Bushy Park, closed for the winter season from Monday, 10 June 2019. Test pits are being dug in two areas of the trails over winter as part of exploratory excavation work. This work will determine the feasibility of future quarry operations in the area.

Waitahinga Trails is a collection of walks at the no-longer used Whanganui Water Catchment Reserve. The walks vary for different fitness levels with picnic spots and look- outs. Most of the walking trails are under native forest canopy with a combination of original forest and very old regeneration. Peaceful and beautiful, the Waitahinga Dam makes for a worthwhile destination.

Page reviewed: 24 Jun 2019 9:18am