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Wild west coast beaches, dramatic gorges and walks Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge and Iron Gates Gorge, stunning mountains like the Ruahine Ranges and a plethora of parks and reserves, Manawatū offers never-ending exploration for outdoor enthusiasts.

Living here means walking tracks, mountain biking and multi-day tramps are at your doorstep and our central location offers easy access to ski fields and vineyards in nearby regions.

Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge

A scenic divide between the Tararua and Ruahine Ranges, bordering the Manawatū region. People of all ages will enjoy the stunning nature and variety of experiences offered here, from hiking, mountain biking, camping and more.

Manawatu Gorge

Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge walk from Ashhurst entrance


There is a diverse network of trails throughout the city, outskirts of Manawatū and surrounding areas. The Manawatū Cycleway on The Country Road is part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail, offering some of the region’s most stunning countryside as you travel from Mangaweka, down the Pohangina Valley through to central Palmerston North. The city is very much cycling friendly, with designated cycling lanes and trails.

Friends biking over bridge on Manawatu Scenic Route

Cycling along The Country Road

Mountain Biking

Jump on your bike and explore the region’s plethora of mountain biking trails including Arapuke Park, Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge and Raumai. Head to Manawatū Mountain Biking Club for more expert information.

Riding trails at Arapuke Mountain Bike Park

Arapuke Forest Mountain Bike Park

Ruahine Ranges

Accessible via rural villages including Apiti and Rangiwahia, the ranges are dotted with backcountry huts and multi-day hikes, with lush native bush dotted with waterfalls and valleys. Tracks offer breath taking views of vast hill country and over to Mt Ruapehu on a clear day. For more walks and tramps, visit here.

Family on Rangiwahia Hut Track

Ruahine Ranges – Rangiwhahia Hut Track


There are a number of Manawatū beaches dotted along the coastline that are within a short driving distance from Palmerston North. Tangimoana Beach is where the Rangitīkei River meets the sea, and is a popular spot for fisherman using long lines, kayakers and surfcasters. Himatangi Beach is a great spot for family picnics, with driftwood huts and sand dunes to explore, local playgrounds and cafe and a Surf Life Saving Club too. Vehicle access is limited, and advised for four-wheel drive vehicles and motorbikes. View our beaches here. 

Himatangi beach at sunset

Himitangi Beach at sunset

Hidden Gems

Discover the natural wonders of the Limestone Creek Reserve Glow Worm Caves in Apiti, the breathtaking ancient native bush in the Rangiwahia Scenic Reserve, and the ponds of all shapes and sizes that are home to all kinds of native birds at Pohangina Wetlands, to name a few. Discover the vast variety of walks in Manawatū. View our walks.

Glow worm caves at night Apiti

Limestone Creek Reserve Glow Worm Caves at night

Hunting & Fishing

Hunting, trout fishing and coastal catches make for a tasty playground. For Fish & Game fishing locations and access, click here. 

Fly fishing in the Rangitikei river

Fly fisherman in the Manawatū River


Adventure seekers revel with white-water rafting at River Valley Rafting; rafting, kayaking, rafting and camping at Awastone, or horse riding and 4WD at Makoura Lodge. 

Adventure River Valley rafting Manawatu

Adventure River Valley rafting


The North Island’s largest ski fields at Turoa and Whakapapa boast Australasia’s longest vertical descent. With over 65 accessible trails, across more than 1050 hectares of pristine snow the North Island makes winter wonderland wishes come true. Ohakune is “ski central,” and only a two-hour drive from Palmerston North.