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Beaches -- Castlecliff Beach, 9km (5 1/2 miles) from the city center, is a typical West Coast beach with black-iron sand and lots of driftwood. It's good for swimming and surfing and is patrolled by professional lifeguards in summer. Wild South Beach, obviously to the south of the city, is great for long beachcombing walks, while Mowhanau is a pretty swimming beach surrounded by papa cliffs (a soft and slippery cross btw. a mudstone and sandstone formation). It has a playground and good picnicking areas. Head north on the highway to New Plymouth and turn left onto Rapanui Road; continue another 9km (5 1/2 miles).

Biking -- Lismore Forest, just minutes from central Wanganui, has some of the best mountain bike tracks in the region. You can rent bikes from Wanganui Pro-Cycle Centre, 199 Victoria Ave. (tel. 06/368-5459), for around NZ$50 per day.

Golf -- The Wanganui Golf Club, Belmont Links, Clarkson Avenue (tel. 06/344-4481), is an 18-hole championship course. Greens fees are NZ$40 for 18 holes.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.