7 May 2020 | Written by Lydia Twohill

Top 3 walks in the Manawatu region

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Top 3 walks in the Manawatu region

Right in Palmerston North city’s backyard, lies a stunning and diverse playground perfect for walking and tramping! The beautiful terrain of the Manawatu region provides a multitude of hiking opportunities, for all abilities and ages.

You might have heard of the Manawatu Gorge walk and this should certainly be at the top of your list of walks to conquer in the area. Expect breath-taking vistas around every corner on each of the walks on offer.

We’ve found the top 3 walks in Manawatu, perfect for the whole whanau or your group of friends. Grab some scroggin mix and prepare yourself for some serious adventure… 


1. Manawatu Gorge Walk (Te Apiti)

Image credit: manawatunz.co.nz

Considered a must-do walk in Manawatu and for good reason! The Manawatu Gorge divides the Manawatu and Hawkes Bay regions and is found nestled between two mountain ranges, within only a 12 minute drive from Napier City.

The main walking track is 11.2km, which will see you traverse through ancient bush, encounter a variety of native wildlife and travel high above the river and Gorge below.

You’ll even get up close and personal with the sculpture of Whatonga – an ancient warrior who standard guard over the Gorge. Enjoy stopping off at five viewpoints along the way – offering the perfect opportunity to soak in your surroundings and refuel with some snacks. From the Manawatu’s iconic wind farms, to the river and railway and the reserves – you’ll be able to see it all!

If 11.2km seems a little ambitious, there’s also an excellent 4.1km loop which is a great option for families with children. This section of the track is well formed, clearly sign-posted and is even suitable for pushchairs so everyone can come along. Check out Manawatu Gorge Tawa Loop Walk for more information on this option.


2. Rangiwahia Hut Track

Image credit: manawatunz.co.nz

The Rangiwahia track makes for an epic day trip or overnight excursion staying in the hut. A benched track enters the bush from the carpark and begins at a steady incline to the tussock tops.

You’ll get to cross a deep ravine of the Mangahuia Stream by way of an utterly picturesque arched wooden bridge. From there you’ll head upwards (a little steeper now), past a scenic waterfall (great for a photo stop!) and onwards until you reach Rangiwahia Hut.

This is a serviced 13 bunk hut, with both heating and water as well as a wood burner which may be used for cooking. If you do intend to make the hike an overnight stay, you’ll need to book yourself into the hut online here. Otherwise, you’ll need to allow approximately 1.5-3 hours each way depending on your fitness level.


3. Atene Viewpoint Walk

Image credit: Neil Savage

Just a 40 minute drive from Whanganui is where you’ll find this fantastic walk, especially suited to families looking to enjoy a viewpoint over Whanganui National Park.

This track will see you and the family travel through farmland, native bush and up a historic roadway. You’ll get a true sense of the great outdoors and a taste for adventure as you hop over stiles to get over fences and eventually come to a ridge with outstanding views of Whanganui National Park and some of the old Whanganui River bed meandering through native bush.

There’s also a picnic table located just 20 minutes into the walk, providing the perfect spot to enjoy a packed lunch (with views to suit!). You can expect the outing to take you about an hour to get to the viewpoint, but less to come down so no more than 2 hours all together.

If you’re game for a longer excursion or an overnight walk, you can continue past the viewpoint and on to the Atene Skyline Track.


Whichever track you choose, we’re sure you’ll make some memories to last a lifetime and see some incredible New Zealand scenes!

Why not book a holiday home to base yourself from where you can fuel up for the day together, wind down in the evening with home comforts and enjoy a comfy sleep!

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