With the children in tow, you could swing with them into extra deep foam pits and try somersaulting at the Cloud 9 trampoline park. Kids will love the children’s area at Te Manawa Museum, complete with play helicopter and electric vehicle – or maybe they’d prefer seeing the moa skeleton in one of the exhibitions. Victoria Esplanade provides the largest playground in the Manawatū, complete with mouse wheel, swings, forts, slides and spinners, as well as a delicious-smelling rose garden when in bloom. The Wildbase Recovery Centre gives kids the chance to get up close to some beautiful native species, which are rehabilitating there from injury before they are to be released. He Ara Kotahi cycleway is a great kids’ activity too: cycle along this river pathway to the Urban Eels feeding platform to spot some of these beautiful creatures, and learn about their meaning to Te Ao Māori.
An itinerary for a weekend away with the kids can be found here – we’ve got all the details on where to stay, where to breakfast, travel times, and all the other logistics on how to pack in the most meaningful couple of days in the Manawatū with the family.
This park on the edge the Manawatū river has it all – 26 hectares of bush walks, bike tracks and formal gardens. For the kids there is Manawatū’s largest playground (includes a mouse wheel, swings, various forts, slides and spinners), the Junior Road Safety Park (where kids can ride their bike or scooter, pretending they’re on real roads with traffic lights), paddling pool in summer, and rose gardens (5,000 roses!) perfect for taking some beautiful phone portraits or having a family picnic. The best thing is it’s all free.
With all this activity, the whole whānau will be demanding some fuel – and there’s no shortage of family-friendly dining in the Manawatū, where you can sample beautifully-cooked, often locally-sourced produce. The Herb Farm is great for wholesome organic food in a sprawling country garden setting. Pompeii Pizza will wow with its gourmet toppings and quality dough (with dough for kids to play with too). Café Cuba is famous for its sweet-treat-packed cabinet and coffee; Aqaba has lots of space and a great kids dinner menu. Mr Grumpy’s or Ocean Beach Eatery are two gems on Foxton Beach for great fish and chips.
Manawatū really is the perfect place for a family holiday, no matter the age and stage. You’ll definitely never be short on exciting and memorable ways to fill the time with the family in Manawatū: select just a few for a leisurely day or two, or for those with Energiser Bunnies in the family, pack in as much as you can!