Palmerston North City & Manawatu

Top Manawatu Walks

TE APITI – MANAWATU GORGE WALK
Length: 10km / 3-5 hours one way
Fitness Level: moderate
Distance from Palmerston North City: 16km, 15 minute drive
This walk is a part of the Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge, and takes you into the lush native vegetation of the iconic Gorge itself.

TAWA LOOP
Length: 4.1km / 2 hours return
Fitness Level:
 low-moderate
Distance from Palmerston North City: 16km, 15 minute drive
The Tawa Loop is at the western end of Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge and offers a chance to experience the uniqueness of the Gorge. A nice loop walk, this track provides all the beauty and wilderness of the main track, with less than half the distance.

LIMESTONE CREEK GLOW WORM CAVES
Length: Up to 1.5 hours return
Fitness Level: low-moderate
Distance from Palmerston North City: 76km, 1 hour drive
Discover real middle earth and explore awe-inspiring caves, creeks and gorges and see magical glow worms in one of Manawatu’s best hidden gems!

RANGIWAHIA HUT TRACK
Length: 4.4km / 2 hours one way
Fitness Level:
 moderate
Distance from Palmerston North City: 85km, 90 minutes drive
This iconic track ambles up through red beech forest and to the open tussock tops of the Ruahine backcountry.

MANAWATU RIVER PATHWAY
Length: 11km one way (can be done in sections)
Fitness Level:
 low
Distance from Palmerston North City: 2-4km from the CBD
This shared pathway offers users the chance to experience the Manawatu River from a flat, open pathway. A popular option for families, cyclists, walkers and runners.

SLEDGE TRACK
Length: 10.9km one way / 5-6 hours (can turn around at anytime)
Fitness Level: low-high
Distance from Palmerston North City: 17km, 25 minutes drive
The Sledge Track offers waterfalls and swimming holes, and caters for several levels of experience. The track starts off as a nice, easy walk ideal for children and families, before getting steeper, designed for more experience trampers. Sledge Track offers a great escape without travelling too far.

MT LEES
Length: 1.8km / 30 minute loop
Fitness Level: low
Distance from Palmerston North City: 25km, 20 minutes drive
In this iconic local reserve there is a stunning sheltered bush walk which offers one main trail that loops the bush fully and a few side trails to explore. The track is an all weather gravel track, suitable for baby buggies.

FERN WALK – TOTARA RESERVE
Length: 5km / 2-2.5 hrs hours loop
Fitness Level: low-moderate
Distance from Palmerston North City: 40km, 35 minutes drive
Located in Totara Reserve, this walk leads you through some of the region’s most ancient and accessible remnants of native bush, offering sweeping views of the Ruahine Ranges.

PETTIFAR & GILCHRIST LOOP TRACKS
Length: 1-2 hours per loop
Fitness Level: moderate
Distance from Palmerston North City: 40km, 35 minutes drive
These popular loop tracks take you down a series of terraces, leading to the crystal clear Pohangina River. The walk is full of native trees and birdlife, with a kahikatea dominated forest in the wetter areas, while the drier areas have an abundance of totara trees.

ALICE NASH HERITAGE MEMORIAL LODGE TRACK
Timing: 1hr each way / low-moderate
Fitness Level: Beginner – Intermediate
Distance from Palmerston North City: 80km, 75 minutes drive
This walk is ideal for families wanting a day trip or an overnight stay. This walk has some steady climbs, but nothing too challenging. Predominantly in covered bush, with the start/end walking through picturesque farmland with amazing views.

RANGIWAHIA BUSH RESERVE WALK
Length: 1.5 hours return
Fitness Level: low-moderate
Distance from Palmerston North City: 71km, 1 hour drive
Discover this hidden stand of native virgin bush reserve in the historic settlement of Rangiwahia Village. There are some stunning viewpoints along the way, and birdlife is plentiful at certain times of the year.

Please Note: All timing and distances above are approximate only. For more walks, hikes and parks check out the full list here.

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