Welcome to New Zealand’s most beautiful natural playground. Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is a landmark of awe-inspiring legend, geographical magnificence, and cultural wealth.

The scenic divide between the Tararua and Ruahine Ranges that border the Manawatu Region, Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is a magnificent geographical structure formed over thousands of years by the Manawatu River. It is the only place in New Zealand where a river begins its journey on the opposite side of the main divide to where it joins the sea.

Come face to face with the sculpture of Whatonga, the ancient Maori Warrior who has been immortalised in a 6m tall sculpture along one of the many walking tracks.

Walking Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge

Walking Tracks

Discover lush green forest on the southern side of the Gorge, walking over bridged streams and under a dense tree top canopy. 
Manawatu Gorge Track 
11.2km, 3-5 hours one way 
Manawatu Gorge Tawa Loop 
4km, 1-2 hours 
Manawatu Gorge Loop Walk 
1.5km – 30 mins 

Mountain biking Te Apiti

Mountain Biking

Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is home to two popular mountain bike trails. 

Te Ara o Mahurangi is a fast-paced downhill ride through 2km of ancient native bush, where as the 41km Windfarm ride has challenging climbs across the Ruahine Ranges. 

Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge

Swimming Spots

Reserves at both ends of the Gorge offer camping and safe swimming spots. 

The Woodville Ferry Reserve at Ballance Bridge offers easy access and freedom camping. Cool off in the warm weather, or pack a picnic and soak up the surroundings. 

Horse treking Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge

Horse Trekking

Experience the magnificence of Te Apiti on horseback with Timeless Horse Treks. 

From short treks across farmland and through streams and rivers, to multi-day treks staying overnight in quaint huts and cosy campsites. 

Eating and drinking Manawatu


In Ashhurst, the local Ashhurst Inn serves up hearty cuisine with a German twist, while the local café and bakery on Cambridge Avenue is another popular spot with garden seating. For a quick stop, drop in at 162 The Avenue bakery for excellent coffee and delectable treats. Or venture out to The Herb Farm for delicious food in a stunning garden setting with both indoor and outdoor dining options available. Complete with child’s playground and on-site retail shop stocked with its renowned natural skincare products, this is another must-do.  

Te Apiti Manawatu Gorge view


Ashhurst Domain Campground provides an ideal base for families with playgrounds, onsite facilities and more. 

Freedom camping at the Woodville Ferry Reserve offers a chance to get back to nature, or for those wanting the comforts of home, Ashhurst Inn provides budget friendly accommodation in style. 

Get the latest updates on Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge including alerts and notices on walking tracks here, and to ensure you safety please read our safety guide before heading outdoors.

The Journey of Whatonga

Whatonga was one of three recognised Chiefs on board the Kurahaupo Waka, which journeyed across the Pacific Ocean to Aotearoa, New Zealand. The artwork and story of Whatonga can be seen at the peak of Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge Tawa Loop track.

Here is a brief video on the creation of the Scultpture of Whatonga and it’s epic journey to it’s current standing place in Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge Loop track.