From trail runs to inner city pathways, there’s a variety of terrain here in Manawatu for all running abilities to enjoy. Whether you’ve just started up running and keen for a weekly group to join or are an avid runner on the prowl for new spaces to explore, you will feel the spirit and passion of our active communities wherever you go.

Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge 

The road State Highway Three through Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge may be closed but the walking and running trails are still wide open. Just a 15 minute drive from Palmerston North city, park at the Ashhurst side entrance and take on the 4km Tawa Loop – an approximately 45 minute run with undulating sections to keep your fitness levels up. You can also head to Windy Point Look out along the main Manawatu Gorge Track via the Tawa Loop, which takes about 2hrs to do return. Flourishing birdsong and evergreen native bush makes this a go-to spot for runners, walkers and families alike.

Runners on Manawatu Gorge Track

Runners at Manawatu Gorge Track

Bledisloe Park

With access points on Tennent Drive or along Massey University Avenue, this inner city park in Palmerston North city offers fantastic, relatively flat trails for runners on their lunch break or for weekend explorers.  Majestic redwoods, tranquil streams, beautiful native bush and the Massey Arboretum are scenic highlights along the way. Dogs are welcome too but must be on a leash.

Runner at Bledisloe Park

Runner at Bledisloe Park

Parkruns at Manawatu River Pathway 

Every Saturday morning at 8am, you can join hundreds of ParkRun enthusiasts for a free 5km timed run along the scenic Manawatu River Pathway in the city beginning at Fitzherbert Bridge. Dog friendly (on a leash please), buggy friendly and wheelchair friendly, this is a place where everyone is welcome. Post run coffee at The Elm Café just 500m from the finish line makes this a very active and social way to kick start your weekend.  

Palmerston North ParkRun is part of a global phenomenon with two million registered runners and volunteers who organise weekly timed runs around the world.

Parkrun Palmerston North

Palmerston North ParkRun along Manawatu River Pathway

Kowhai to Kitchener Park 

Enjoy an easy 6km loop run (mostly on trails) starting from the South Street entrance of Kowhai Park in Feilding towards Kitchener Park. The first 2km follows a trail beside the Makino Stream which then leads to a loop track through Kitchener Park along a scenic boardwalk surrounded by beautiful native bush and wetlands. Keep an eye out for New Zealand’s tallest kowhai tree as well as an 800 year old kahikatea. Toilets are available at both parks. 

Sign for the tallest Kowhai Tree

NZ’s Tallest Kowhai Tree

North Range Trio 

This epic running and walking event offers three distances to tackle across the wind farms of the northern Tararua RangesThe 12.5km Hall Block Humdinger, the 25km Tilt Renewables North Range Traverse and the 50km Catchment Ultra. Each course with its own triumphs and challenges, discover what it’s like to run amongst the giants with the awe-inspiring wind turbines surrounding you. 

Runners at North Range Trio

Runners at North Range Trio

The Mudder 

Challenge your fitness levels and your adventurous side too at this annual must-do event held at the Rangitikei Farmstay in MartonFrom elite athletes to keen novices, The Mudder is an unforgettable experience everyone can enjoy. Course distances range from 3km, 5km to 8km treks through natural springs, dams, bogs, rugged hills, man made obstacles and a whole lot of mud.

The Mudder Rangitikei Farmstay

The Mudder at Rangitikei Farmstay

Tough Guy and Gal 

Experience what it’s like inside New Zealand’s largest army base at Linton Military Camp’s annual Tough Guy and Gal challenge each winter. For a muddy good time running through swamp crossings, stunning native bush trails, tunnels and hurdles, year after year, locals as well visitors to our region rave about this extreme off-road running event that will definitely keep you on your toes.  

Tough Guy and Gal Challenge

Tough Guy and Gal Challenge at Linton Military Camp

You can check out the New Zealand Running Calendar, our What’s On section or contact local running clubs for more info on must-do running events in and around our region.

Manawatu offers walks, hikes and multi-day tramps for all abilities.

Click here to discover our outdoor playground.