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.

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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.

Walking Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge

Walking Tracks

Discover lush green forest on the southern side of the Gorge, walking over bridged streams and under a dense tree top canopy. 
Manawatū Gorge Track 
11.2km, 3-5 hours one way 
Manawatū Gorge Tawa Loop 
4km, 1-2 hours 
Manawatū Gorge Loop Walk 
1.5km – 30 mins 

Mountain biking Te Apiti

Mountain Biking

Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge is home to two popular mountain bike trails. 

Te Ara o Mahurangi is a fast-paced downhill ride through 2km of ancient native bush, where as the 41km Wind Farm ride has challenging climbs across the Ruahine Ranges. 

Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge

Swimming Spots

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. 

Horse treking Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge

Horse Trekking

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. 

Eating and drinking Manawatu


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.  

Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge view


Ashhurst Domain Campground provides an ideal base for families with playgrounds, onsite facilities and more. 

Freedom camping at the Woodville Ferry Reserve offers a chance to get back to nature, or for those wanting the comforts of home, Ashhurst Inn provides budget friendly accommodation in style. 

Get the latest updates on Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge including alerts and notices on walking tracks here, and to ensure you safety please read our safety guide before heading outdoors.

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.