One of New Zealand's farming strongholds, Manawatu's scenic highlights involve lush forest parts and lovingly manicured gardens.
Lovers of hiking and the outdoors should head to the Ruahine Forest Park, home to a network of accommodation huts and tramping tracks. Many of the hikes in this park involve steep uphill sections, but the reward is the views at the top of the ranges – reaching all the way from the forest to the sea, they are absolutely spectacular.
The Manawatu region is home to many passionate gardeners, obvious from the colourful, well-tended gardens that can be spotted everywhere. Take some time to explore what they have to offer – Palmerston North’s Victoria Esplanade Gardens are charming, while Kimbolton’s Cross Hills Garden is home to a fine collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.