Established in 1893, Raetihi's wide main street and historic buildings reflect the pioneering history of this former timber town. It is the closest town to the Mangapurua mountain bike and walking track, the Bridge to Nowhere and the starting point for the iconic Whanganui River Road journey.
Raetihi is also home to the "Theatre Royal" which is not only the oldest theatre in New Zealand but the oldest theatre in the Southern Hemisphere. The Theatre Royal housed the film crew for the River Queen movie while they filmed key scenes on and around the Whanganui River and Whanganui National Park. Located on State Highway 4, Raetihi is home to the Ratana church and is close to the Mangawhero and Manganui a te Ao rivers, both well known for trout fishing and fauna.
The tiny settlement of Pipiriki is located on the banks of the Whanganui River. It is the final destination for many river journeys that commenced upstream, either from Taumarunui or Whakahoro. Pipiriki is the access point for jet-boat rides to the Bridge to Nowhere and now boasts a campground, two cabins and a small takeaway food shop.
With its large sheep and beef stations, tranquil domain and even its own wild-west town Ruatiti is also famous for trout fishing. the Manganui-o-te-Ao river is home to a protected population of the rare New Zealand blue duck (whio).