Beyond the City Bridge, Durie Hill’s 213 metre long pedestrian tunnel leads to the historic Durie Hill Underground Elevator.
The Durie Hill Underground Elevator was built to provide residents of the garden suburb easier access to the growing city. Built in 1919, it is New Zealands only public underground Elevator and is still used on a daily basis by locals and visitors.
Access is through a long pedestrian tunnel and then you’re welcomed aboard the elevator for the 66 metre ride to the top of the hill and it only costs $2!
The underground elevator emerges right by the Durie Hill War Memorial Tower – do them both together for a fun outing!
In the early days it was just a shilling for a child and another shilling to take the bicycle as well. For a little more you can purchase a small souvenir card with all the details.
It is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere and saves you the challenge of climbing the adjacent 191 step walkway (maybe take the walkway on the way down perhaps!)
The construction of the Durie Hill Underground Elevator enabled the development of the Durie Hill Garden Suburb in 1920. This suburb was planned by the architect Samuel Hurst Seager, and is considered to be the first modern New Zealand suburb. The elevator continued to be operated by the company until 1 June 1942 when control passed to the Wanganui City Council, which continues to operate the complex today.
As you shake and wobble to the top keep in mind the spectacular panoramic views you’ll be rewarded with at the top. Looking out over the city bridge, Whanganui River and out to the sea, this is one of the best views in the district.
Enjoy the panoramic views from the elevator’s top platform and, if you are really keen, climb the adjacent 33.5 metre Memorial Tower. From both vantage points you can take in magnificent views of the Tasman Sea and Mts Ruapehu and Taranaki.