A very relaxed start of 10am saw the ladies embark on a mystery tour of Wanganui.

Jimmy from ‘Take it Easy’ tours promised us a day of relaxed enjoyment with no pressure - and that’s just what it was!

First stop was the Whanganui River Traders Market with all its colourful art, fresh fruit and veges, and very good crafts on sale at excellent prices!  A few of the arts and craft items were purchased within the ½ hour available to us before embarking on the Waimarie paddle steamer.

The Waimarie is the last New Zealand steam-powered and coal-fired passenger paddle steamer operating from the golden riverboat era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and we had a fabulous journey on her.

Chugging up the river, we enjoyed a very dignified high tea in the private saloon.  There was a moment of concern when the paddle steamer did several ‘donuts’ in the river due to a log being imbedded in the large paddle - but being ladies in the saloon however; we took it in our stride and watched the crew work their magic to get us back on track, in the right direction, and in only one more ‘pop in the mouth’ scone’s timing.

A bit of rain did not put us off, and thanks to the thoughtful thinking of Jimmy, we walked off the boat, through the museum and onto the coach waiting for us at the front doors.  A new surprise met us, in the form of Kyle - our local historian; who joined us for the remainder of the day to regale us with incredibly interesting facts and stories about Wanganui.  Yes, there is more to this city than meets the eye!

Several ladies took the Durie Hill Elevator (built in 1919 - and NZ’s only public underground elevator) up to Durie Hill.  The ride was a bit rattley - but as one of the ladies was protectively informed by the operator; “if you were nearing 100, you’d creak a bit too!”

At the top of the hill was of course the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower with its 176 steps.  The view on a clear day is magnificent - alas - ours was a rainy cloudy day - but a couple of the ladies conquered it never the less.

Virginia Lake and the Winter Gardens was our last stop before heading back to the conference room.  The Gardens were as peaceful as ever and I observed many photos being taken of the various displays of colour.

Back by 3 was the goal - and we made it back just beforehand - where a welcome glass of wine was available.

Despite inclement weather; a most enjoyable day with a wonderful group of ladies.

Click here to see the photos taken on the day (thanks to Mary Buck - official photographer on the day!); and of course to Penny, who organised another wonderful day for the partners.