There's free wi-fi available in the CBDs of Palmerston North City and its neighbouring towns, so make sure that when you visit you check for access, download the local app (search Palmerston North iTunes) and go exploring.
Don't miss these things to do when you visit the Manawatu region.
Drive the Country Road
The Country Road, Manawatu takes you off the main highways, away from heavy traffic and through diverse landscapes. Driving the Country Road is equivalent to driving the 'back roads' - but with purpose. With map in hand you can telephone ahead to organise a devonshire tea, pop in to see a boutique mill and know exactly where the best spectacular viewing points are.
- Stormy Point Route - A great alternative to traveling SH1 between Taupo and Wellington. It's a very scenic route with great lookout points over ancient river terraces, and connects you with the townships of Feilding and Palmerston North City.
- Peep-O-Day Route - Aptly names after the Peep-O-Day point, which is the first place in the area to see the morning sun.
- Pohangina Valley Route - A vast valley located at the foot of the Ruahine Mountain Ranga featuring wetlands, small communities, Totara Reserve Regional Park and an abundance of walking tracks on Department of Conservation land.
- Iron Gates Experience - A secluded section of northern Manawatu with horse trekking, hiking, camping, a popular country pub, and many natural attractions. Named after the Iron Gates Gorge, which has sheer cliffs and a powerful river pulsing through it.
Up close with nature
In Manawatu you can create your own natural body products, go on tours to see New Zealand wildlife up-close, and experience all kinds of outdoor adventures in the mountain to sea landscape. It's a great place to get outdoors, especially on a bike.
- The Herb Farm offers a natural, eco and feel-good experience in a rural retreat setting. Indulge in a refreshing walk through the gardens or purchase healing and chemical-free body products made onsite. If arranged in advance, you can make your own. Facilities include a beauty retreat and a cafe.
- Learn the fascinating history of selling livestock - one of New Zealand's oldest traditions - on a guided tour of Feilding Saleyards, a hive of activity and one of the largest saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere. The best day of the week to visit is Friday.
- Owlcatraz is a wildlife park featuring rare and interesting animals set amongst native bush and farmland. You can see native New Zealand Owls (morepork or ruru), as well as get up close and personal with pigs, donkeys, ostriches, deer, bulls and alpaca.
- River Valley offers white-water rafting, hill country horse trekking and hikoi (walks) with a restful stay at the riverside lodge.
- Adventure down New Zealand's fourth-longest river with Mangaweka Adventure Company (MAC), offering a wide range of river activities, accomodation and facilities.
- Mokai Gravity Canyon is the ultimate extreme adventure playground, set in a spectacular river canyon. Choose from one or all three thrilling experiences - the 80m Bungy, the Giant Swing or the Flying Fox.
- Ride a bike along the Manawatu Cycleway, on The Country Road, which is part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
History and culture
Stories of New Zealand's heritage and culture are told well in Manawatu.
- Feilding's Steam Train Museum, Horse Drawn Era Museum and Homeprint are run by local enthusiasts.
- Te Manawa is a cultural museum of art, science and history. It showcases and stores the Manawatu region's nationally significant taonga, contemporary art, science and heritage collections.
- The New Zealand Rugby Museum is the home of New Zealand rugby heritage and culture - the sport that shaped a nation. See some of the world's rarest rugby artefacts and test your kicking, tackling, leaping, sprinting and pushing skills at the 'have a go' area.
- The Coach House is a horse-drawn era museum giving insight into the life of our early poineers through their stories, photos and the transportation they used to settle Manawatu and New Zealand.
Wild rides and unusual thrills
Kiwi ingenuity has given birth to some interesting forms of entertainment.
- Himatangi Beach on the west coast of the North Island stretches for as far as the eye can see. There's plenty of room for blokarting, and absolutely nothing to bump into!
- The Mokai Gravity Canyon offers all sorts of gravity-driven thrills - bungy jumping, canyon swinging, a flying fox and a chairlift drop.
- Ride a small boat with a big motor on a tight, purpose-built circuit at Flat Hills Jet Sprint.
- Have fun white water rafting, kayaking and jet boating on the Rangitikei River. The River also has the highest bungy jump in the North Island, highest tandem bridge swing and fastest flying fox in the world.
The charm of small towns
Manawatu's rural settlements are famous for their character and friendliness.
- Kimbolton is an enchanting rural township set high above the Manawatu Plains. It offers wonderful views of Kapiti Island and is home to world-renowned rhododendron gardens.
- Feilding has been named New Zealand's most beautiful town many times and has one of the largest stock sale yards in the Southern Hemisphere. It also has great cafés and a farmers’ market every Friday.
- Taihape is the 'gumboot capital of New Zealand', which explains the giant corrugated gumboot icon that marks the town.
- Norsewood is proud of its Scandinavian heritage. The township features an award-winning organic goat cheese factory, the Norsewear clothing factory shop, antiques, a museum and the unique Troll Stroll.
- Woodville is home to the Gottfried Lindauer Replica Studio - a unique collection featuring one of New Zealand's most celebrated artists.
- Dannevirke's Fantasy Cave is a must for families with young children.
- At Mangatainoka you can tour the famous Tui brewery, easy to find because its high-rise brewing tower can be seen for miles.
- Bulls is a charming rural town named after an English settler. Here you'll find quaint cafes and unique shopping, as well as the 'relieve-a-bull' toilet!