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Things To Do In Manawatu

Manawatu is packed with great scenery, rugged west coast beaches for surfing, native bush walks, great driving routes and beautiful rural farming land. The dramatic Manawatu landscapes with lush forests and majestic gorges sweep from the rugged Ruahine and Tararua Ranges and out to the Tasman Sea, making an exciting adventure playground.

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Tourist Information About Manawatu

Top Attractions

Coach House Museum

Coach House Museum

Welcome to our world class museum, home to an outstanding collection of rural Ne ......

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Tourist Information About Manawatu

Manawatu is packed with great scenery, rugged west coast beaches for surfing, native bush walks, great driving routes and beautiful rural farming land. The dramatic Manawatu landscapes with lush forests and majestic gorges sweep from the rugged Ruahine and Tararua Ranges and out to the Tasman Sea, making an exciting adventure playground.

Explore glow worm caves, many museums, golf by cable car, boutique shopping, and street art. Take one of the many cycling, mountain biking or walking tracks through Manawatu where you'll find stunning scenery and views. You can also get your adrenaline fix with bungy jumping, white water rafting, horse trekking and kite surfing, to name a few. The iconic Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is great to explore, you can discover ancient native bush and a land steeped in legend by foot, bike, jet boat or horseback.

Manawatū rewards those who follow their nose and get off the beaten track to find the hidden gems. Okay sure, you will find world-class coffee, epic trails to shred, food to die for and enough shopping to get your heart pumping, but the special thing about Manawatū is the journey of discovery along the way. We’re here to help you connect the dots to forge your own unique path. So, let’s get out there…

Best Attractions and free things to do in Manawatu


1. Te Apiti - Manawatu Gorge

Carved between the mountains thousands of years ago by the Manawatū River, and immersed in native bush, a visit to Te Āpiti is like taking a step back through time. Rich in cultural history and legends, curiosities of nature, and a connection to the land that goes far beyond any explanation.

Come face-to-face with the six-metre tall sculpture, immortalising Whātonga, the ancient Māori warrior. Here, you'll feel the legends, the magic and the spirit of our region.

Explore this national taonga your way, whether that’s on your bike, by foot or on horseback.


2. Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery

See what’s involved in caring for sick and injured native wildlife at Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery Centre. The centre cares for some of Aotearoa’s most endangered species, where they rehabilitate after receiving treatment at Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital before being released back into the wild. The facility is also home to a number of permanent residents for you to spot, such as kererū, kākā, and tuatara.

Learn and discover more about conservation issues, and our culture and connection to native wildlife through the completely bilingual facility. If you need a hand, one of the friendly volunteer visitor hosts are there to help!


3. He Ara Kotahi

Walk, cycle or e-scooter alongside the Manawatū River as you weave your way through dairy farms, forests and historical pā sites, over boardwalks and bridges, ending up at Massey University or Linton Military Camp.

The star attraction is the 194m long bridge that looks like a fallen Karaka tree stretched across the awa (river) from above. Make sure you check out the bridge lit up at night too - it’s epic!

A 25-minute walk will take you to Urban Eels, an eel (tuna) feeding platform where you can learn about the importance of tuna to te ao Māori (the Māori worldview). Be sure to pack a snack of meat to hand feed your new river dwelling friends, the carnivorous tuna!


4. Arapuke Mountain Bike Park

Ride to your heart’s content through a network of epic mountain bike trails, in the Lower North Island’s premier mountain bike park. If it’s your first time visiting, head to the Kahuterawa Road end and take either the Pupu Rahi or Back Track. These trails will get you into the heart of the action. There are trails from Grade 2 and for experienced riders, there are trails up to Grade 6. To pack in more downhill rides, get Kahuts Shuttles to do the heavy work with a lift back to the top of the trail.


5. Limestone Creek Reserve Glow Worms

One of Manawatū's best kept secrets that we are delighted to share. Magical caves are carved out of rock by Papatūānuku (Mother Nature) herself. Best seen as a nighttime adventure - but if that doesn’t suit your schedule, you can still see them glowing during the day. Be sure to bring a torch and your gumboots and take care with your footing!


6. Awastone

Raft, kayak, and camp along the Rangitīkei River with a ‘stay and play’ package. Kids as young as three years old can join in on the fun, so bring the whole whānau to spend the days on the river and nights hanging out together in the river cabins or parked up in your motorhome. Enjoy tasty meals during your stay at the onsite cafe and restaurant.


7. Rangiwahia Hut Track

Lose yourself in the incredible vistas along this well-graded track, where the stunning arched wooden bridge, deep ravines, red beech forests and enchanting Middle Earth scenery will really take your breath away. Your final reward? The tussock tops views along the Whanahuia Range. The quiet serenity that trampers seek comes in strong supply here.

The perfect choice for those after a great day tramping and the option of a cosy overnight hut experience too. Just make sure you book on the DOC website to secure your spot.


8. Feilding Farmers Market

Feilding has loosely been named New Zealand's most beautiful town. Locals are friendly, and time seems to move more slowly. Make your pit stop at Feilding on a Friday morning to take advantage of the town's traditional farmers market and fill your belly with some local fare.

This award-winning market features stunning artisan products such as locally crafted cheeses, coffee, fresh vegetables, flowers and more. On every Friday 8.30am – 1pm at Manchester Square in Feilding.


9. Coastal Arts Trail

The Coastal Arts Trail is an easy self-drive itinerary of the art galleries, museums and open studios along the central North Island’s West Coast. It is a collection of must-see creative attractions for curious wanderers exploring New Zealand.

Enjoy the delightful street art dotted across the city and region, soak up the variety at prominent galleries such as Te Manawa Art Gallery, or meet the makers at their studios. Stop in with Joe McMenamin for a creative workshop to bring out your artistic flair.


10. Himatangi Beach

Get out of the city and hit the beach. Just 30 mins from Palmerston North, this raw and rugged west coast beach is a top spot for fishing, walking, kayaking, wave watching, and fish and chipping. Stay for a night or two at the award-winning campground. The local store will keep you fueled, it even does a superb flat white.

Ruahine Forest Park

11. Ruahine Forest Park

The Ruahine Forest Park is made up of beautiful bushy ranges that offer a variety of recreational opportunities.

There are dozens of treks in the area's famed forest park, ranging in length from an hour to a four-day expedition. The Rangiwahia Hut Track is the most popular, carrying trampers over the Whanahuia Range's rich golden grasses. You'll for sure have a great time!

Beehive Creek

12. Beehive Creek

In Manawatu, the small creek is a bit of an outlier. The course, which features exotic plants, feels out of place in the surrounding scenery. However, we've been told that the forest is natural to the area and that human activity has had only a minor impact on it. During this simple 2-hour stroll, you can explore everything on your own.

Pohangina Valley

13. Pohangina Valley

The Pohangina Valley is definitely worth visiting. The Pohangina River, which offers green views over white cliffs, is a great place to relax. Traditional Kiwi farmlands may be seen as far as the eye can see from the high elevations, and there are plenty of short walks and swimming areas on the lower ground.

The Pohangina Valley makes for a beautiful drive across the Manawatu region, with plenty of opportunities to stop for walks or a stroll around the gardens. Terraces, lush pastures, and rolling hills give way to forest-covered mountainsides rich in ancient native vegetation as you go down the valley. There are lots of reasons to stay in the Pohangina Valley, as you will discover here.

Discover Palmerston North by Bike

14. Discover Palmerston North by Bike

The city of Palmerston North literally begs to be explored by bike, with so many bike stands! Furthermore, navigating about the Manawatu region by bike is a breeze, thanks to the New Zealand Cycle Trail, which connects Palmerston North and Mangaweka.

Totara Reserve Regional Park

15. Totara Reserve Regional Park

This park is definitely on a must see and do list! The regional park has two campsites, but you'll have to get there early in the summertime because it gets busy and they're first-come, first-served. The Totara Reserve has many memorable walking trails, as well as a large number of native birds and a couple of natural swimming holes to observe, so bring your bathing suit!

Te Apiti Wind Farm

16. Te Apiti Wind Farm

The wind farm has become such a sign of pride in the Manawatu region that windmills are now featured on the Manawatu district's official logo. The farm is conveniently positioned on Saddle Road, making the car park with a wind turbine in the center quite accessible.