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Manawatū's best overnight and multi-day walks

Manawatū's best overnight and multi-day walks

One day is never enough! Make the most of our region’s natural playground and go hiking on an overnight or multi-night expedition. There’s something so blissful about venturing into the bush with your favourite tramping buddies, and truly getting off-grid. No cellphone reception – no worries!  

Tune out from the hustle and bustle of the city and tune into nature’s soundtrack – colourful birdsong, the rustling of the trees in the breeze, and the bubbling waters of a crystal-clear river. Idyllic. 

So pack your sleeping bag, some scroggin, and your appetite for adventure – these overnight walks are calling your name.

Rangiwahia Hut Track

This stunning hilltop trail is all about the views. Pop Renfrew Road in the GPS – and head into the beautiful northern Manawatu, about 1hr 15min drive from Palmerston North. Now the fun begins – the 2–3-hour hike first crosses the Mangahuia Stream across a wooden arched bridge, before the steady climb begins. It encompasses bush-clad hills, exposed tussock tops, epic scenery across the Ruahine Forest Park, and plenty of jaw-dropping moments as you ascend above the treeline. Keep an eye out for a peaceful waterfall, and the friendly chirping of grey warblers, wax eyes, chaffinch, fantail, blackbirds and kererū. 

Once you’ve reached the hut, time for a snack break and to soak up the breath-taking views from the balcony. The 13-bed hut must be booked in advance – check out the DOC website for availability.  

Rangiwahia Hut – Deadman's Track

If you’re looking to upgrade your adventure and have notched up a few tramps on your belt already, then instead of turning back the same way, continue past Rangiwahia Hut, crossing the Whanahuia Range along the Deadman’s Track. Rolling tussock ridges continue to offer spectacular scenery as you venture to Mangahuia Trig, and loop back to the Renfrew Road carpark. Day Two will take you 5-6 hours to complete, but it’s a circuit that’s well worth it.  

Always check the weather before you go, and tell somebody about your trip plans to ensure you stay safe in the outdoors.  

Alice Nash Memorial Heritage Lodge Track

At the foot of the Ruahine Ranges lies the Oroua River valley, a gorge-ous river area formerly used in the logging industry, which is now slowly regenerating to its original natural beauty. Drive past Kimbolton and Āpiti to reach the carpark at the start of the track. 

Make a beeline through the beech forest for half an hour – it’s a short but spectacular walk featuring a majestic arched bridge that offers a primo photo op. After half an hour you’ll reach the lodge – a standard 8-bed hut that’s first-in, first-served. Named after the late Alice Nash, a local who loved exploring the area, this hut was rebuilt in 2007 to replace the original historic lodge that sadly burnt down. Enjoy the serenity and stay the night – who’s bringing the board games? 

Image credit: @amandahodge_itsthelittlethings

Iron Gate Hut Track

But wait, there’s more. For a longer expedition, add on a stay at Iron Gates Hut, perfect for a long weekend escape. This wilderness adventure has no shortage of scenery as you tramp for 4-5 hours through the Oroua River valley and further into taiao (nature). 

Looking for something a little shorter? Strap on your boots and check out the other top day walks on offer across the region – whether hiking is your weekend ritual, or you’re still finding your feet in the bush. Be sure to tag us @Manawatu_NZ when posting on Insta and Facebook – we’d love to see where the adventure takes you next! 

Image credit: @amandahodge_itsthelittlethings

Key things to remember in the outdoors:

Stick to the trail and respect the environment by making sure the only thing you leave behind are footprints.   

The weather can change in an instant. Make sure you plan ahead, take the right clothing and adequate food, water and supplies. Check out these gear lists for walks and hikes

  • Tell a trusted person your plans and when to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned. Send them the information directly, or use Plan My Walk.  
  • Get an up-to-date weather report from the Metservice website before setting off. 
  • Follow the five essential steps of the Land Safety Code. 


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