Search Manawatū
The best of Manawatū: 2 nights, 3 days itinerary for active explorers


For weekend warriors looking for an extraordinary getaway, it's time to discover some off the beaten path journeys in heartlands, Manawatū. The rhythm of life is nice and easy with an eclectic mix of arts and culture, outdoor adventures from hikes to mountain bikes, and a tantalising taste trail of international cuisine in Palmerston North.

Let your wanderlust guide you to explore our great outdoor spaces and rural landscapes with this fun-filled 2 nights, 3 days itinerary showcasing the best of Manawatū.


3 days


- He Ara Kotahi
- Te Āpiti - Manawatū Gorge
- New Zealand Rugby Museum


DAY 1.

he ara kotahi day 1
He Are Kotahi, Palmerston North

Day 1.

Visit a gallery

Come absorb the creativity that weaves itself throughout our region's curated galleries. Here's a few of our must see city galleries - The Square Edge, Te Manawa, Zimmerman .

Wildbase Recovery

A world-class rehabilitation centre for injured native wildlife, Wildbase Recovery is a must-do when in Manawatū, centrally located in the heart of Victoria Esplanade in Palmerston North. 

Traverse bridge to bridge along the Manawatū River Pathway

Just a hop, skip and a jump from Wildbase Recovery to the popular 10 km Manawatū River Pathway to explore along the Manawatū River.

In Te Reo Māori, Manawatū means a place where the heart stands still – a fitting name for the sights and sounds you’ll find down by the riverside along Victoria Esplanade.  Make sure to check-out the interpretation boards that share the stories and history of the region. 


Provenance large

Top Tip!

If you’re looking for some tasty inner city eats, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Palmerston North city has an awesome selection of international cuisine including Japanese, Afghan, Turkish, Mediterranean, Indian, Mexican, South African, French, Thai, and Cambodian….the world is really at your fingertips here.

Day 2.

Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge Tawa Loop

Walk, run or forest bathe your way through Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge Tawa Loop – with your starting point beginning at the Ashhurst car park. On any given day of the week, this natural wonderland is a haven for active explorers of all ages and abilities. This 4.1 km loop walk is breath taking in every way with an initial steady climb along this undulating but well-formed track. The White Horse Rapids lookout gives you a glimpse of the ever-flowing Manawatū river from above and the impressive 6.2 metres tall Whātonga sculpture at the top of the loop track pays tribute to the traditional history of Manawatū and ancestor of local Rangitāne people. 

The Herb Farm Café and gardens

Just a 15-minute drive from Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge, head towards Ashhurst to recharge at The Herb Farm Café and gardens. A hidden gem in rural Manawatū, the herb farm is a unique destination that offers a beautiful café, sprawling gardens and retail shop that showcases its range of award-winning natural skincare made on-site. If you’re keen, you can book in a hands-on workshop to make your own that you can take home with you.

Limestone Creek Reserve Glow Worm Caves

A local secret in northern Manawatū is the beloved Āpiti Glowworm Caves in Limestone Creek Reserve. Just a short walk from the main road, come prepared with a torch and gumboots for this wilderness experience. Located on private property but open to the general public, remember to be respectful of this natural wonderland and leave no trace behind.

Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge walk hike

Day 2.

Whatonga, Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge
Apiti Tavern Eatery ManawatuNZ large 1

Top Tip!

A good spot for great food is Āpiti Tavern and Eatery – a historic pub loved by the locals with delicious food and licensed bar.   

DAY 3.

nz rugby museum
New Zealand Rugby Museum

Day 3.

BABCO – Brick Artisan Bread Company

What started out as a European style bakery has turned into an iconic spot for mouth-watering croissants, sourdoughs, cruffins (cross between a muffin and a croissant), danishes, pretzels, and so much more. From near and far, locals and visitors alike flock to BABCO for the most delicious creations, made fresh daily with love – you know because every bite tastes like sunshine.

Te Manawa + New Zealand Rugby Museum

After a good feed at BABCO, learn about the history and stories of Manawatū at Te Manawa Museum of Art Science and History – always a buzz with exhibitions and activities that showcase regional and national collections that inspires discovery and innovation. Then head to the unique, highly acclaimed New Zealand Rugby Museum on the second floor for an exciting and interactive journey through the makings of New Zealand rugby.

sportmanawatu Instagram 3057 ig 17967751540402705

Top Tip!

If you’ve got a bit more time on your last day, head to Arapuke Forest Mountain Bike Park at the end of Kahuterawa Road. Over 30 kms of epic trails ranging from grade 2 to grade 6. A shuttle service operates on most weekend and selected times. Or if you prefer, explore the stunning Sledge Track which is accessible from the same car park with access to walking tracks, swimming holes, waterfalls, and a swing bridge.

Manawatū stories >>

Dive in and have a taste of what our region’s about!
EXPERIENCE Manawatū Filter
  • All
  • See & Do
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Business & Innovation
  • Taste
  • Whānau
  • Walking & Cycling
  • Itineraries
  • Shopping
  • Motorhoming


Group 276


Share this listing via
This site uses cookies to provide you with the best experience. By continuing to use this site you consent to our use of cookies. Find out more in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Accept Cookies
chevron-up linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram