Welcome to New Zealand’s most beautiful natural playground. Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge is a landmark of awe-inspiring legend, geographical magnificence, and cultural wealth.
The scenic divide between the Tararua and Ruahine Ranges that border the Manawatū region, Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge is a magnificent geographical structure formed over thousands of years by the Manawatū River. It is the only place in New Zealand where a river begins its journey on the opposite side of the main divide to where it joins the sea.
Come face to face with the sculpture of Whātonga, the ancient Māori Warrior who has been immortalised in a 6m tall sculpture along one of the many walking tracks.
Reserves at both ends of the Gorge offer camping and safe swimming spots.
The Woodville Ferry Reserve at Ballance Bridge offers easy access and freedom camping. Cool off in the warm weather, or pack a picnic and soak up the surroundings.
Experience the magnificence of Te Āpiti on horseback with Timeless Horse Treks.
From short treks across farmland and through streams and rivers, to multi-day treks staying overnight in quaint huts and cosy campsites.
In Ashhurst, the local Ashhurst Inn serves up hearty cuisine with a German twist, while the local café and bakery on Cambridge Avenue is another popular spot with garden seating. For a quick stop, drop in at 162 The Avenue bakery for excellent coffee and delectable treats. Or venture out to The Herb Farm for delicious food in a stunning garden setting with both indoor and outdoor dining options available. Complete with child’s playground and on-site retail shop stocked with its renowned natural skincare products, this is another must-do.
Ashhurst Domain Campground provides an ideal base for families with playgrounds, onsite facilities and more.
The Journey of Whātonga
Whātonga was one of three recognised Chiefs on board the Kurahaupo Waka, which journeyed across the Pacific Ocean to Aotearoa, New Zealand. The artwork and story of Whātonga can be seen at the peak of Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge Tawa Loop track.
Here is a brief video on the creation of the Scultpture of Whātonga and it’s epic journey to it’s current standing place in Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge Loop track.