Winter in Manawatu is a beautiful thing. It’s a season filled with curiously fun weekend drives, fiery sunsets on the beach, and mouth-watering homemade ice creams of course.
Feilding for the day
When winter weather hits, there’s some great indoor options to enjoy in friendly Feilding. The Makino Aquatic Centre is a fantastic facility that offers free inflatable fun on weekends and an interactive water play area for kids. A must-see for all ages, The Coach House Museum’s impressive collection of NZ rural heritage including historic vehicles and farm displays offers hands on activities. Remember to pop in to I Scream For Ice Cream, voted as one of the Top 10 places for ice cream in New Zealand, with over 70 ice cream and milkshake flavours in store to try. If you’re in Feilding on a Friday, there’s the award-winning Farmers’ Market on Manchester Square offering a stunning selection of artisan products as well as the must-do Feilding Saleyards to check out just 300m away.
Feilding Clock Tower
Active beachside fun
Head west and enjoy our west coast beaches where you’ll be spoilt for choice. Himatangi Beach is the best place to watch the sunset and is home to an award-winning holiday park, an adventure playground, a seaside skate park and the largest sand dune field in New Zealand. You can enjoy fishing, walking, kayaking as well as some tasty takeaways or fresh baking and coffee from the local store. Just north of Himatangi is Tangimoana, a small fishing village with a beach popular with horse riders and fishing enthusiasts. Or you can head south to Foxton where you can test your wakeboarding and waterski skills at Foxton’s Off the Loop cable wakeboard park which is open to beginners and advanced riders. If you’re keen for kite sports, check out the onsite Wind Warriors for kitebuggy, kite land boarding and kite surfing fun. Foxton also offers fantastic fish and chips at Mr Grumpy’s takeaways or award-winning homemade cooking at The Little White Rabbit café.
Driftwood hut and sand dunes at Himatangi Beach
Sunday drive through Pohangina Valley
Weekend explorers can enjoy a bit of everything along the Manawatu Scenic Route. Head to County Fayre in Pohangina for some history, a kid’s book club and scrumptious Devonshire Tea. Continue to Totara Reserve to explore a range of walks through ancient native forest as well as a fantastic campground with river access, children’s playground, BBQ, toilet and shower facilities. You can also book in a time to visit Cartwheel Creamery to enjoy some locally crafted, award-winning cheese.
4WD safaris and horse treks at Makoura Lodge
Wet wintry weather makes for the ultimate 4WD safari at Makoura Lodge where you’ll experience a series of obstacles, purpose-built tracks and rivers amidst stunning rural landscape. Either as a passenger on the 4WD safari, or as the main driver on a 4WD self-drive tour with a one-on-one Adventure Mark safety approved instructor. If you prefer a more leisurely mode of transport, one to two-hour guided horse treks are also offered at Makoura Lodge. Onsite bar and a wide range of accommodation are available.
Makoura Lodge horse treks
If you haven’t already experienced golf by cable car, then this is definitely one to add to your bucket list. Award-winning Rangatira Golf Club’s unique course is an absolute hidden gem built on three levels with spectacular views of the Rangitikei River, club house with full changing and shower facilities and no bunkers to boot. Caravans are welcome to stay overnight so you can plan to play and stay. Visitors and new members welcome.
Cable car at Rangatira Golf Course
Waireka Honey Centre
A great outing that everyone will enjoy. Located on State Highway One just south-west of Sanson, Waireka Honey Centre is more than just a honey shop. Visitors can enjoy a Talk, Tour and Taste of all the amazing honey products produced and stocked on site. You’ll also get to see a real honey hive in action in the viewing area and watch the busy bees at work. A must-do while at Waireka? Try their delicious range of homemade honey ice-creams and you may just make this drive a weekly visit. Open seven days a week.
Waireka Honey Centre