Travelling the Manawatū by motorhome gives you the ultimate freedom to access off-the-beaten-track gems at your own pace, from walking or biking rugged backcountry and ancient forest, to stopping off at country pubs and gardens, plunging into swimming holes, and nipping into town for museums, art, and dining.

It gives you the freedom to stay another night at a particularly epic spot if you so desire – and Manawatū has so many of them! We bring you the 101 on what routes to take, where you can park up for the night, dump your waste – and where to park in town.

Epic routes

The routes through the Manawatū are beautiful and easy to navigate by motorhome. In northern Manawatū, you can explore The Country Road scenic routes – three routes that will take you the along back country road where hidden treasures are waiting to be found. The Stormy Point Route takes in a lookout with incredible views as far as Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu, lush farmland, winding country lanes, boutique country businesses and river terraces. The Peep-o-Day Route travels past dramatic limestone cliffs, high class gardens, rural villages and great swimming spots. The Manawatū Scenic Route takes you into the Pohangina Valley, past ancient bush, high-altitude horse trekking, swimming spots, country inns and up close to the magnificent Ruahine Ranges. From Palmerston North, head out to Himatangi Beach, or drive south to Foxton for adventures at the dedicated wakeboard park, kitesurfing, an inflatable aqua course or to Arapuke for mountain biking.

Motorhome and sheep along Manawatu Scenic Route

Exploring by motorhome, Manawatū

Magic places to stay

You’re spoilt for choice for places to stay by motorhome. For self-contained vehicle freedom campers, there are basic spots in simply spectacular and remote locations, next to native bush, rivers and mountains – you can really get away from the hustle and bustle. Freedom camping requires no booking (let your spontaneous side shine!) and best of all you can save some money for a fancier stay somewhere else another night, or splash it on that Rangitīkei rafting trip, alpine horse trek or fine dining experience.

Department of Conservation (DOC) and regional campsites are another option as a place to stay – they’re also usually in stunning spots, are low cost and maintained by rangers, and often have powered sites available and long-drop toilets. Otherwise, if you’d rather have facilities such as flush toilets, hot showers, laundry, wifi and a kitchen, head to a holiday park or other private campground. Check out our blog Great places to stay in with a motorhome in Manawatū for some inspiration!

Motorhome camping at Totara Reserve

Motorhoming in the Manawatū

Campervan essentials

Dump station locations are another essential – knowing where they are will take the stress out of your motorhome trip. Luckily, NZMCD has a whole list here (scroll down to Whanganui/Manawatū/Horowhenua), and private holiday parks may have them too.

If your motorhome is large, you’ll need to know which parks in town can fit you in – thankfully, in Manawatū there’s no stress with this. Just outside Palmerston North i-SITE in The Square/ Te Marae o Hine there is free all-day parking for motorhome and campervans – see this map for other free city centre daytime parking options. In Feilding, there is free daytime parking outside the railway station and the Feilding Information Centre, Makino Pools, Feilding Sale Yards and The Coach House Museum – see more options here.

Travelling by motorhome in the Manawatū

Manawatū really does make for a dreamy motorhome holiday, with off-the-beaten-track experiences combined with easy infrastructure to make your motorhome holiday hassle-free.

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