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Whanganui Airport Car Rental Deals

  • Low prices
  • Wide choice of brands
  • No booking fees
  • No credit card fees*
  • Instant confirmations
  • Free cancellation on most cars
  • Free amendments on most cars
  • 24/7 customer service

* Some rental car suppliers may charge a credit card fee for amounts payable on arrival.

4WD rental

Car Hire at Whanganui Airport

Whanganui Airport is a small provincial airport with limited flights and rental car options. The airport car rental brands we offer are limited to Hertz and Thrifty.  

If you're wanting more rental company options then consider picking up a rental car in Palmerston North. It's only an hour's drive away and we have multiple car rental brands available for your to choose from.

To maximise your savings it's a good idea to book your car early, especially for travel during peak periods. Just put your travel details into the Quote box at the top of the page to instantly compare a huge choice of vehicles at the very best prices.

Maximum Choice. Best Deals.

  • All the best deals in one place from over 25 different rental brands across New Zealand.
  • Instantly compare the best deals. No need to waste your time checking out multiple websites.
  • Easily filter results by price, brand, or type of vehicle.
  • And if you're finding it difficult to decide, check out the customer ratings to hear from those who've been there and done that.
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I tried Mates Rates after reading some positive reviews. Was not disappointed! You can spend a lot of time searching for a rental car, but found the best deal there

Pru C - New Zealand

Best deal we could find after looking at all the rental car websites.

Lorenz G - Australia

Quick and easy

Chris W - Australia

Best site to compare car rental prices and get the best offers

Devansh - New Zealand

价格好,容易

Eddie W - New Zealand

Easy, I had no problems at all. Prices seemed to be ok. I didn't check others. Definitely recommend.

Adrianne H - New Zealand

Better prices and variety than going direct

Heather H - New Zealand

Best car hire rate I could find. Recommended to a friend and she said same.

Jane A - New Zealand

Very easy to use. Really good specials for a run around car. Would recommend.

Ian M - New Zealand

Easy to compare the different rental companies in one place. Lots of choice which is great. Prices seemed cheaper than other sites including when I looked at booking direct

Glen M - New Zealand

Second time I’ve used MateRates. Always a good deal.

Trevor B - New Zealand

Great value! I'll be telling my friends.

John W - Australia

Glad I found your site – we left things to the last minute and couldn’t get a car at a price that made sense. Problem solved!

Greg H - New Zealand

We left everything to the last minute and were having trouble finding a car. Then we found your site and got a car in Queenstown at a decent rate. Will tell our friends!

Fiona W - New Zealand

Easy and efficient. Competitive prices with good choices. Worth a try.

Tom H - England

Good comparison site. Saves time.

William S - New Zealand

We booked ahead from Germany. Prices very reasonable, and a good choice of cars. Saved us time and money — would use again.

Andreas B - Germany

Thanks for making things easy. Found a 4WD for much less than we had seen on other sites, and booked it — no worries.

Mark W - Australia

Whanganui Airport Car Hire Tips

Why it makes sense to rent a car

One of the key reasons for renting a car when you’re visiting Whanganui is the freedom and flexibility it offers. 

With a rental car you’re free to explore at your own pace and on your schedule - not someone else’s. 

There is no bus service from the airport into town, so if you don't have a car you'll need to take a taxi. A taxi into the centre of town will cost you between $15 and $32, depending on traffic. This excludes the airport fee charged.

Low daily rental rates plus unlimited kilometres means that hiring a rental car is a cost effective option and allows you to make the most of your limited time.

We offer some suggestions at the bottom of the page about places around Wanganui you might want to visit. Having a rental car makes getting to them easy.  

Driving from the airport

Whanganui Airport is 6 km south of the town of Whanganui (also spelt Wanganui). It's just a 10 minute drive into the centre of town. 

Once you've collected your rental car, take the road out of the airport for 3 km.  At the roundabout turn left onto State Highway 3 and cross the river. At the next roundabout turn right into Heads Road. Follow the road for 0.5 km and then turn left onto Hatrick Street.  Follow this for 1 km into the CBD of Whanganui.

Return with a full tank

Stop at a nearby petrol station and top up the tank before returning your vehicle. The extra 5 or 10 minutes this takes will definitely save you money.

If you return the car with the tank not full then the rental company will charge a high price to top up the tank. These charges can be excessive, such as a $2.50 a litre surcharge on top of the fuel cost. Not a nice surprise to later find this charge on your credit card.

There is a 'Z' brand petrol stations open 24 hours right at the airport.

Z Tom Pearce Drive
Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland Airport
Ph: 09-2560911

Attractions Near Whanganui

A rental car gives you the freedom and flexibility to make the most of your time exploring Whanganui and surrounding areas. Here are a few of the attractions you might like to consider checking out. For more ideas, check out the Whanganui Tourism website....

Sarjeant Art Gallery

Whanganui is home to hundreds of artists and boasts a thriving creative scene, from design and photography, and fashion to crafts and fine art. The city is dotted throughout with public art from memorials to sculptures and architecturally significant buildings — you just have to wander around to get a taste. There are roughly a dozen galleries in Whanganui and each year it hosts the Festival of Glass and Open Studios event, in which local artists open up their working spaces to the public.

The Sarjeant Art Gallery in Whanganui is a must-see if you’re interested in art. Its magnificent neo-classical architecture is just as impressive as the exhibitions within. Over 5,000 artworks can be found at the Sarjeant Gallery across a variety of media — pottery, glass, bronze, ceramics, video, and paintings.

Also known as Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui, the gallery opened in 1919 thanks to the generosity of founding benefactor Henry Sarjeant. Plans for expansion and improvement are underway and slated for completion in 2019.

Originally the Sarjeant Gallery concentrated on 19th- and 20th-century art from the UK and Europe. It now includes art from 16th century Europe through to 21st century New Zealand. The gallery first obtained New Zealand work in 1926 and built up this aspect of its collection, which now stretches back to works from the 1840s to the present. Represented Kiwi artists include Colin McCahon, Ralph Hotere, Charles Frederick Goldie, and Gottfried Lindauer. In fact, the Sarjeant now boasts one of the most comprehensive records of New Zealand art history in the country.

The Sarjeant Gallery is in a heritage building on Taupo Quay in central Whanganui.


Whanganui National Park

Escape to Whanganui National Park to experience a rugged landscape of valleys, forests and native wildlife. Lying approximately 70 km north of Whanganui, this is an area of rich natural beauty. Roads lead to Whanganui National Park from all directions, some leading to tramping tracks and others to the river; you can take in all the scenery from your rental car.

Sprawling tracts of lowland podocarp ferns and forest blanket the park. Rimu, totara, rata and matai trees can all be found here, as well as black and silver beech. Orchids and Fuschia can also be seen.

Common birds found in Whanganui National Park include silvereyes, tomtits, bellbirds, robins, fantails, tui, and kereru. Kakariki and kaka reside in the Matemateaonga Ranges. Whanganui National Park boasts thousands of North Island brown kiwi — more than anywhere else in the country.

In and around the rivers, keep your eyes peeled for trout, blue ducks, crayfish, eels and flounder. You can hunt pigs and deer in Whanganui National Park.

One of the most popular walks in Whanganui National Park is the Matemateonga Track, taking 3-4 days one way. It begins at Whakahoro and ends at the so-called Bridge to Nowhere, from which you’ll take a jet boat out. Another trail is the Atene Skyline Track. This is a full-day hike, starting from Whanganui River Road and ascending through the forest.

Alternatively, a short walking option takes just 1.5 hours return, from the Whanganui River to the Bridge to Nowhere. This incongruous bridge with no roads on either side of it, in the heart of the forest, is a throwback to the early 1900s. It was quickly abandoned and the forest regenerated around it, leaving no other trace of civilisation.

Whanganui River

Flowing all the way from Tongariro to the Tasman Sea, the Whanganui River was once a key transport route for early settlers. Early Whanganui tribes were master canoeists and fishermen until the onset of riverboats irrevocably changed the landscape. Nearly 300 km in length, the river threads its way through the heart of Whanganui National Park. According to Maori legend, the river was formed from the tears of Mt Taranaki as he fled south after becoming embroiled in a love triangle. The Maori influence on Whanganui National Park can still be felt and seen today; interpretation plaques throughout the park explain the stories of both early Maori and Pakeha.

The Whanganui Journey, despite being classified as one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, is actually a five-day, 145 km river trip running from Taumarunui (2 hours from Whanganui in your rental car) to Pipiriki. A shorter three-day version between Whakahoro to Pipiriki is another option. Paddle your way along the great river in a canoe or kayak, stopping each night at huts or campsites en route. Staying at Tieke Kainga is a unique way to get a taste of Maori culture — it is the only marae that doubles as a Department of Conservation hut.

The river is classed as Grade 2 and suitable for beginners; there are dozens of rapids along the way but they are mild with only gentle drops. You can also catch rainbow and brown trout in the river. Jet boats operate to both ends of the river and are a great option for day trips.

Back in central Whanganui on the banks of the river, the Whanganui Riverboat Centre is home to Waimarie, a historic paddle steamer. Salvaged after capsizing and sinking, the Waimarie has been lovingly restored. This ship now runs regular leisure cruises up the river complete with commentary and refreshments.


Bason Botanic Gardens

Whanganui’s Bason Botanic Gardens have been designated a Garden of Significance. Although situated in the central city, they provide a rural escape with a selection of both outdoor and indoor gardens, peaceful pathways and recreational areas. The gardens are notable not just for the botanic blooms but also for their architecture — the original homestead is still in use, plus there’s the brick conservatory complex, as well as a number of sculptures and structures strategically scattered through the grounds.

There are six key areas within the Bason Botanical Gardens. The Exotic Conifer Arboretum features Norfolk pines, Captain Cook’s pine and Monkey Puzzle trees. In the Dress Circle, you’ll find the conservatory (along with its orchid, begonia and tropical houses) as well as a healthy showing of subtropical species with palms; the tulip and iris beds are at their best in the springtime. The homestead’s English garden is a lovely spot that combines herb and succulent gardens with lakeside views.

Continuing through the friendship garden you’ll reach the top of Millennium Hill, which is being developed with Mediterranean, African, Asian and Australian plantings. Then there’s the native bush and wetlands section to the east, from the fern house to the boardwalk. Native trees like rimu and kauri can be seen here as well as various birds. The Lakeside Flats and Alexander Terraces are prime picnic spots shaded by leafy trees and a gazebo. BBQ facilities are available. Here you can watch people playing disc golf or even try your own hand at the game — it simply involves trying to get your frisbee into the holes.

The woodlands toward the back of the gardens are a great place to wander, with daffodils in spring. There’s a camellia grove, and a rhododendron and azalea walk.

You can even drive around the Bason Botanic Gardens in your rental car on the roads, pausing at the lookout points.

The Bason Botanic Gardens are open daily from 8 am to dusk (the conservatory is open from 9 am to 4.30 pm). You will find the gardens along Rapanui Road in central Whanganui.