Manawatū

Manawatū

Manawatū

This central North Island region has been shaped by, and named for, mighty river catchments: the Manawatū and the Whanganui. Along their banks you’ll discover native wildlife, vibrant towns and plenty of kindhearted locals, all of which are deeply connected to the region’s stunning landscape and iconic waterways.


Palmerston North, the region’s biggest city, is home to Massey University and FoodHQ both of which put a focus on supporting the science and business of food. They’re linked to the city and the Manawatū river via beautiful cycle trails and walking paths. Go for an adventure on the He Ara Kotahi bridge and walkway before finding yourself back in the heart of downtown ‘Palmy’ for a memorable meal.

The Manawatū’s colourful array of cafés and restaurants have built their menus and their success with ingredients sourced from the surrounding landscape. Award winning beef and lamb, cheese, honey, beer and wine are all made right here. A trip to any of the region’s farmers markets is a chance to discover, all at once, the true variety of produce that’s grown in the mighty Manawatū. The focus on food here is undeniable and makes it one of the most unique foodie destinations in the country, maybe the world.

While the region’s rivers have supported life along the shores for generations, their raw and unforgiving power takes a different shape at places like the Manawatū gorge. Here you’ll see first hand how these ancient channels have shaped the land, carving out rock and stone without a second thought. The resulting micro climates are home to some of New Zealand’s most impressive native flora and fauna - go for a hike or a bike and keep your eyes peeled. For a more up close and personal experience visit Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery where injured native species get world class care and shelter. You might catch a Morepork taking a snooze, a blue duck searching for a snack, a Tuatara sunbathing in a quiet corner or a Kea showing off their bright plumage.

The colours and textures found in the Manawatū are nothing short of inspiring and the sculptors, painters and creatives who live here draw inspiration from this at every turn. Palmy, for one, has public art installations on almost every corner and rural galleries provide chance-upon spots for art enthusiasts and curious types alike. Whatever you’re searching for, be it an adventure, a food tour, an art experience or some combination thereof, can be found in the Manawatū.

A building surrounded by blossoms.