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Outdoor Family Fun


Pack the kids up and escape from the city for some wholesome fun in the sun! Rural Manawatū has oodles of outdoor activities for the whole family, so we've pulled together some inspo to get you started!
Himatangi Beach Manawatū


A quick 30 minutes’ drive from Palmerston North city will take you to the sleepy beach town of Himatangi. You can park up on the wide-open beach and seep in the sun as the little ones get their fill of sand and surf.

While there, make sure to share the history behind the name, with Himatangi stemming from a legendary warrior chief, Matangi, who fished and killed a taniwha that was eating his relatives. The verb ‘Hi’ was added to his name as it means ‘to fish,’ giving us ‘Himatangi.’

To curb those hunger cravings from the all of the sea air and swimming, stop in to the local fish and chip shop to get a whopper of a meal that you can enjoy on the beach while you watch the sunsetting across the water.

If you’re looking to make a trip of it, stop in for a night or two at the award-winning Himatangi Beach Holiday Park and immerse yourself in this special little place.

Make sure to check our Guide to Staying Safe before getting into the water.


Just down the road is the adventure playground of Foxton Beach. If you and the kids are looking to blow off some steam and with some action-packed fun, make sure to drop into Off The Loop, New Zealand’s Premiere Cable Park.

Take a ride on their private lake where you can try your wakeboarding tricks on the ramps and rail slides if you’re up for the challenge. If wakeboarding isn’t your thing, why not try their paddle boarding, kayaking or even water polo. The newest addition to the park is the massive Aqua Park Obstacle Course, where you can slip and slide your way through this mega inflatable playground.

Make sure to check our Guide to Staying Safe before getting into the water.

off the loop
The Country Road ManawatuNZ large 1


There is something so special about hopping into the car and taking off on a road trip. What makes that even better is when you’re guaranteed stunning scenery which will leave you wanting to pull over after every bend to take it in, coupled with places to stop along the way for fun, food, shopping and friendly faces.

Check out The Country Road routes to plan your road trip.


For some light exercise and a breath of fresh forest air take a trip to Whitecliffs Boulders. 

Created over millions of years, these giant moss-covered boulders create a fantastic landscape that is definitely worth a visit!

A unique and mystical destination that will inspire your and your children's imagination. It's also the perfect spot for a picnic if you want to feel like you're on a Tolkein-esque adventure. 

Enjoy this unique outdoor experience on your next day trip, just off State Highway One.

Visit their website for more information.

Beaver & Bear Canadian Restaurant Manawatū
feilding saleyards


A must stop is the friendly town of Feilding sitting at the heart of rural Manawatū, where you’ll be met with red-bricked pavements, stunning flowerbeds, and a warm elegance that reminds you why it has been voted ‘New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Town’ 16 times.

On a Friday, the center of Feilding really comes alive. In Manchester Square, the award-winning Feilding Farmers’ Market is humming with local producers offering artisan products, locally grown goods and delicious treats.

Just down the road you can experience one of New Zealand’s oldest traditions that dates back to the 1880s, at what used to be the largest sale yards in the Southern Hemisphere. Take a guided tour from a local drover who will take you through the sheep pens and cattle rostrum to witness the live auctions in action.


If you’re after a picture-perfect picnic spot, Kimbolton has some of the best in the country! At the heart of this quaint little village, world renowned for its glorious gardens, is Heritage Park. Large lawn areas, interlinking ponds and rhododendrons from around the world make this a colourful playground for the senses. If you need to top up your picnic, pop into the onsite Chalet for a coffee or tea which is open to visitors from September to December.

Cross Hills Gardens is the queen bee of Manawatū gardens with over 2,000 varieties of stunning rhododendrons and azaleas in full bloom over Spring. With many gardens connected through the wide-open paths, the kids can scoot along the way to find their favourite flowers or the camellia maze where they can dart and dash their way through this huge flower puzzle. Keep the energy topped up at the onsite café and pick up a memento from the shop.

Cross Hills Gardens cr Udo von Mulert large

If you’re after the best of both and want to pair your off-the-beaten trip with some city experiences, discover even more fun for your itinerary with these things to do in Palmy with the kids.

Have we missed any of your favourite family-orientated rural outdoor activities?
Let us know on
Palmy & Manawatū on Instagram (@manawatu_nz).

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