Manawatu, North Island

including Palmerston North and Whanganui

HERO Manawatu with kids

Manawatu family holiday

Welcome to Manuwatu and Palmerston North

Walks and Parks

Walks & Parks

Get Outdoors!

Discover the region's walks, parks, beaches, lakes or rivers.

Palmerston North City and Manawatu offers a playground of adventure and discovery. Located in the heart of the lower North Island, the landscape sweeps from the rugged Ruahine and Tararua Ranges out to the Tasman Sea, making it a diverse playground for all tastes.

Palmerston North City

The urban city of Palmerston North is home to the New Zealand Rugby Museum, Te Manawa – Museum of Art, Science and History, and a prominent collection of art galleries. Known as a premier shopping destination in the lower North Island, the city offers everything from major chain brands to boutique designer stores – all of which go hand in hand with the colourful array of cafes and dining options.  Discover the arts and sculpture trail, or sit back and enjoy the internationally recognised theatre scene that provides entertainment for all genres.


The Manawatu Region is one of contrast and diversity, with an appeal that is unique to New Zealand. The rich Edwardian township of Feilding is the heart of rural Manawatu. On a Friday, the centre of Feilding really comes alive. In Manchester Square, the Feilding Farmers’ Market is humming with local producers offering artisan products, locally grown goods and delicious treats. Just down the road you’ll find one of the largest saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere. Here you can get a guided tour from a local drover who will take you through the live auctions and the many fascinating processes of what is one of New Zealand’s oldest traditions. 

Feilding itself is a sight to see, with its Edwardian themed buildings and paved streets, you can see why its won New Zealand’s most beautiful town award no less than 14 times.

Explore the region and take in the dramatic landscape on one of the many family friendly cycling, mountain biking or walking tracks, and even the most avid adrenalin junkie will be satisfied with bungy jumping, white water rafting, jet boating, kite surfing and more on offer. Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is a must see destination where ancient native bush connects with myth and legend. Experience its wonders by foot, by rail or water, and ensure you view the iconic sculpture of the Maori legend Whatonga.

Manawatu Scenic Route – An alternative to SH1

One of New Zealand’s official touring routes, the Manawatu Scenic Route offers you a wide range of activities, from secret swimming holes, walks and hikes through ancient native bush, horse treks at high altitude as well as gardens and heritage collections galore. You can drive this route in a day easily, but to really make the most of the unique experience we recommend that you plan it over at least two days.

That way you’ll have plenty of time to stop off at the many highlights, scenic spots and more along the way.  Heading down the Pohangina Valley, this route takes you on an incredible journey through an evolving landscape and offers an insight into real kiwi backcountry where the journey is as much a part of the adventure as the destination.

Te Apiti - Manawatu Gorge

There are few places in New Zealand where within 12 minutes from a major city you can enjoy one of our country’s most iconic natural playgrounds, Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge. Whether you explore by foot, horseback or mountain bike, Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is a must see on your journey. Covered in ancient bush and home to a variety of wildlife, Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is steeped in legend and has many a story to tell. Explore the walking tracks and you’ll come face to face with the sculpture of Whatonga, an ancient warrior who stands guard over the forest, and is well worth the walk.  

Whanganui (or Wanganui)

Whanganui is located on the South Taranaki Bight, on the banks of the Whanganui River. It’s in the centre of everything! Central Plateau, Taranaki and the coast are all a short drive away. The city itself is home to Kowhai Park – the most unique children’s park in New Zealand, along with a host of other family friendly outings and activities.

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Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Auckland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Christchurch
  • Dunedin
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Manawatu
  • Northland
  • North Canterbury
  • Queenstown
  • South Canterbury
  • Taranaki
  • Southland
  • Taupo
  • Wanaka
  • Waikato
  • Wellington
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…


New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!


Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.


With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.


With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.


Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!


Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.