Accommodations are not Wanganui's strong point. There are no major hotels and nothing truly upmarket, probably no more than 30 motel complexes, around 30 homestays or farmstays, and fewer than half a dozen backpacker establishments.
If remote is what you're after, try the Flying Fox, P.O. Box 333, Wanganui (www.theflyingfox.co.nz; tel. 0800/483-292 in NZ, or 06/342-8160), with five units, including two self-contained cottages and a gypsy cart (carriage). The cottages go for NZ$200 a night, plus NZ$40 for an additional person. The gypsy cart accommodation costs NZ$100 (plus NZ$40 per additional person). All rates include breakfast. Everything sits under old walnut trees, and hosts Annette and John make natural beers and organic meals. Note: You'll have to cross the river on a flying fox, and it's 45 minutes upriver from Wanganui.
Even more remote, for those who truly do want to get away from it all, is Bridge to Nowhere Lodge, Ramanui Landing, Whanganui River (www.bridgetonowhere.co.nz; tel. 0800/480-308 in NZ; fax 06/348-7133), where rooms, breakfast, and dinner go for NZ$275, or self-catering with your own bedding (ideal for canoeists and trampers) for NZ$50 to NZ$75 per person. Rutland Arms Inn, 48-50 Ridgway St. (www.rutland-arms.co.nz; tel. 0800/788-5263), is an old-fashioned stay in an old pub that's right in the heart of the city. The eight big rooms here go for NZ$140 to NZ$185. Riverwoods, 234-237 Kaiwhaiki Rd., Wanganui (www.riverwoods.co.nz; tel. 06/342-5501), is a beautifully restored, self-contained villa a short drive from the city on the banks of the Whanganui River. It sleeps six people and costs NZ$235 for two people and NZ$290 to NZ$455 for three to six guests. The Tamara Backpackers Lodge, 24 Somme Parade, Wanganui (www.tamaralodge.com; tel. 06/347-6300), is clean and comfortable, with a good kitchen and a friendly atmosphere. The house, once a maternity hospital and then a hotel, overlooks the river and is an easy walk to town. The fabulous rear garden has hammocks under giant palm trees. It's NZ$28 for a dorm bed, NZ$52 single, and NZ$66 to NZ$80 double.
All rates listed include the 15% GST and parking.
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.