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Te Apiti - Manawatu Gorge
Fast becoming one of New Zealand’s must-do walks, the Tawa Loop Track allows you to hike through the ancient native forest of the Gorge. At the peak of this track is a sculpture of Whatonga (an ancestor of local Maori), which tells the story of the sacred history of this area.
For a longer walk check out the Te Apiti - Manawatu Gorge track.
Sledge Track - Bush Walks & Swimming Holes
Enjoy stunning waterfalls, swimming holes and rock formations along the Sledge Track. The track has various walking lengths to suit your abilities from a short bush walk to a full hike up to the Platinum Mines and viewing points.
For families, a short 30-minute walk takes you to a beautiful swimming hole and picnic spot. Kids will love exploring the gravelled track, and the serene surroundings of unspoilt native forest, giant boulders and waterfalls make for an awesome destination.
Classic Coastal Summer
Himatangi Beach has a Lego-like collection of driftwood pieces that are used to create bivvies, teepees, and huts. Build your own or move into one of the many existing ones dotted along the coast.
The local store has ice creams, coffee and tasty fish n’ chips and just down the road in Foxton you’ll find the popular Mr Grumpys and the Little White Rabbit cafe and eatery.
Lido Aquatic Centre, Park Road, Palmerston North
Head to the Lido Aquatic Centre and make the most of the outdoor activities. Check out New Zealand’s tallest waterslide and the giant Superbowl, or have a go in the dive pool, jumping off one of the many diving boards. The interactive Aqua-Play area is specifically for younger kids, and there’s plenty of space to picnic and relax, making it the ideal destination for a day of family fun!
Manawatu River Pathway, Palmerston North
Families love the Manawatu River Pathway, which runs for a cruisy 10km alongside the Manawatu River. A great way to explore this trail is with an electric bike, available for hire form the Palmerston North City i-SITE. You’re guaranteed to catch a cool breeze as you speed along on two wheels!
Indoor Activities - The Museum Trifecta
When you’ve had enough sun, head indoors and soak up some history. The Coach House Museum leads you through our region’s agricultural and social heritage from early Maori to European settlers and beyond.
Check out the interactive Dinosaur Encounter at Te Manawa, or learn the stories of Manawatu and our heritage through various exhibitions. Pop next door to the New Zealand Rugby Museum and learn about the sport that shaped our nation.
Berry Picking and Swimming Holes in Pohangina Valley
January marks the start of blueberry picking at Blue Acres in Pohangina Valley. This is worth it just for the drive out there alone, but we reckon the best way is to make a day of it. Fill up with pick-your-own blueberries then head to Totara Reserve or Raumai Reserve for a picnic and swim.
Swimming Spots away from the Crowds
The waterfalls at the Ruahine Dress Circle Scenic Reserve make a perfect backdrop for a summer afternoon, and walking upstream you will see the beautiful formations of the soft grey papa rock. Totara Reserve is great for a paddle, and the Sledge Track has boulders and swim holes galore. Check out the Safe Swim Spots for more ideas.
Ice Creams for Everyone!
I Scream for Ice Cream, in Feilding, was voted one of the Top 10 places to get ice cream in New Zealand, making it a must-visit this summer! With more than 40 flavours on site, plus mouth-watering dessert options, classic candies and more - this cute little shop will have you skipping dinner.
Victoria Esplanade, Palmerston North
There are several awesome playgrounds, a junior road safety park and stunning rose gardens, the Victoria Esplanade is a fun family destination. The miniature train is well worth checking out; it runs for over 2km through the park. The Cafe Esplanade is perfect for a coffee or cold treat, or head to the nearby BP for an epic ice cream cone.
Mountain Bike at Arapuke Park
Discover a network of mountain bike trails hidden at the Arapuke Trails in Kahuterawa Valley. This local favourite lets you experience four levels of trails on top of a mountain range and features some of the best single tracks in the lower North Island.