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Explore Manawatū With Your Whānau


Keen to take a hike or get on your bike with your whānau? We've got plenty of family-friendly chances to get lost and see the unexpected side of Manawatū!


2 days


- He Ara Kotahi
- Te Āpiti - Manawatū Gorge

DAY 1.

he ara kotahi pathway
Manawatu and Palmerston North | Victoria Esplanade | Playground and Public Toilets
Manawatu | Penhaven | Farm

Day 1.

He Ara Kotahi Pathway

Start your Get Lost journey at He Ara Kotahi, the riverside pathway that has it all.  It passes dairy farms, historical pā sites, through forests, over boardwalks and bridges, and ends up at a 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, a short cycle, or e-scooter ride along the path 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!  

Victoria Esplanade

After you’ve cruised along the awa (river) pathway, make a stop at the Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery in Victoria Esplanade. Here, you’ll learn about Aotearoa's native animals, the struggles they face, their significance to Māori and the passionate people who work to save them. Meet the friendly resident birds and see the patients recovering before they get released back into the wild. 

Continue exploring Victoria Esplanade, starting with the Junior Road Safety Park where kids will love practicing their road knowledge and cycling skills. Or they can test out the epic playgrounds, ride on the miniature train, or take a dip in the paddling pool. 

Be sure to bring a picnic to enjoy in the Dugald McKenzie Rose Gardens or dine in at Café Esplanade.  

Local tip – pick up some tasty treats from BABCO in the morning to complete your picnic!  

Stay // Penhaven Farm Stay

Offering a rural setting only 13-minutes' from Palmy, Penhaven Farm Stay features a relaxing and enjoyable space in the peace and serenity of country life.

Take time to delve into life on the farm! Enjoy a delicious home cooked complimentary breakfast from farm produce. Go for a peaceful walk around the gardens and farm, take in the quietness and views. Meet the farm animals including the friendly deer, collect the eggs, see and taste the seasonal vegetables and fruit.

The guest rooms are in a separate wing of the house to the owners, for your privacy. Delicious evening home-cooked meals, based on farm produce, are available.  

Day 2.

Te Āpiti - Manawatū Gorge Tawa Loop

Once you’ve woken up refreshed, it’s time to unearth the magic and spirit of Manawatū at Te Āpiti - Manawatū 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 connection to the land, it is the ultimate place to encounter. 

The Tawa Loop is a great two-hour hike to do with tamariki (kids) as it’s not too long but still offers the chance to come face to face with the six metre tall sculpture of Whātonga, the ancient Māori Explorer.

The Herb Farm

When you’re all walked out, make your way to The Herb Farm where you’ll find a natural oasis just outside of Ashhurst.

Refuel from your morning walk by enjoying delicious fresh food at the café.

After lunch, wander through the fourteen themed gardens that’ll capture the hearts of all ages. Challenge your little ones to a quiz as they explore the gardens. 

Finish off your visit by browsing the unique natural products that are made on site.  

Want to explore more?

If you’re after more entertainment to top off the day, the kids will love Cloud 9 Trampoline Park where they can hop and jump to their hearts content.

Or for a slower pace, take a trip to Te Manawa Museum where they can, uncover some educational treats and have tons of fun in the process.  

Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge Tawa Loop Walk Entrance .nz Cloud 9 ManawatuNZ large

Day 2.

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