Manawatu is a beautiful region in the lower North Island of New Zealand. Here are the top 10 things to do when visiting Manawatu, excluding Whanganui:
1. Te Manawa
Te Manawa is a vibrant and interactive museum and art gallery located in the heart of Palmerston North. It showcases the rich cultural heritage and history of Manawatu, providing visitors with an immersive experience like no other. From its impressive collection of artworks, to the science exhibits and interactive displays, Te Manawa has something for everyone. Visitors can explore the region’s fascinating past, learn about local flora and fauna, and engage with the latest in technology and innovation. With regular events and exhibitions, Te Manawa is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Manawatu.
2. Exploring the Manawatu Gorge
Exploring the Manawatu Gorge is a must-do activity when visiting the Manawatu region. The Gorge offers breathtaking views of the rugged landscape, including the Manawatu River and surrounding mountains. Visitors can hike, cycle or drive through the reserve, stopping to take in the stunning scenery and snap some amazing photos. The area is also rich in wildlife, including native birds and reptiles, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or just looking for a leisurely stroll, the Manawatu Gorge is an unforgettable experience.
3. The Victoria Esplanade Gardens
The Victoria Esplanade Gardens is a beautiful 19-hectare park located in Palmerston North. The park features a stunning rose garden, a bird aviary, a miniature railway and a playground for kids. The tranquil atmosphere of the park makes it a perfect spot for a picnic or a relaxing stroll. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities such as feeding the ducks or taking a ride on the miniature railway. The park also hosts a range of events throughout the year, including the annual Summer Concert Series. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the Victoria Esplanade Gardens is a must-visit destination.
4. The Coach House Museum
The Coach House Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the rural history of New Zealand. Located in Feilding, Manawatu, the museum showcases a fascinating collection of vintage farm machinery, tools and household items from the early 20th century. Visitors can learn about the daily lives of rural New Zealanders and gain a greater appreciation of the region’s history. With knowledgeable staff and interactive exhibits, the Coach House Museum offers an enjoyable and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
5. The New Zealand Rugby Museum
The New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North is a must-visit destination for rugby fans. The museum celebrates the rich history of rugby in New Zealand and features an impressive collection of rugby memorabilia, including jerseys, trophies and other significant items. Visitors can also engage with interactive exhibits that showcase the evolution of the sport and its impact on New Zealand culture. Whether you’re a die-hard rugby fan or just curious about the sport, the New Zealand Rugby Museum is an immersive and fascinating experience.
6. The Feilding Farmers Market
The Feilding Farmers Market is a bustling and vibrant market held every Friday in the town of Feilding. The market offers visitors an authentic taste of Manawatu’s regional produce, with a range of fresh fruits and vegetables, artisanal goods, and delicious homemade treats. The friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the market makes it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Visitors can enjoy live music and street performances while browsing the stalls, and chat with local farmers and vendors about their products. Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a fun day out, the Feilding Farmers Market is a must-visit destination.
7. The Pohangina Valley
The Pohangina Valley is a picturesque rural area located in the Manawatu region of New Zealand. Visitors can enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and stunning views of the surrounding hills and farmland. The valley is also home to a variety of native flora and fauna, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers. Visitors can take a scenic drive, go hiking, or explore the local art galleries and cafes. The Pohangina Valley is a great destination for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of New Zealand.
8. Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park is one of New Zealand’s most iconic destinations, located in the heart of the North Island. The park is home to three active volcanoes, Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu, as well as stunning alpine landscapes, emerald lakes, and unique geological features. Visitors can explore the park’s diverse hiking trails, including the world-renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing. In winter, the park transforms into a winter wonderland, with skiing and snowboarding opportunities on offer. With its breathtaking natural beauty and unique geological features, Tongariro National Park is a must-visit destination for any nature lover or outdoor enthusiast.
9. The National Army Museum
The National Army Museum in Waiouru is a fascinating destination for anyone interested in New Zealand’s military history. The museum showcases the history of the New Zealand Army, including its involvement in significant military conflicts and peacekeeping missions around the world. Visitors can explore the museum’s vast collection of military artifacts, including uniforms, weapons, vehicles and equipment. Interactive exhibits and multimedia displays offer a unique and engaging experience for visitors of all ages. With knowledgeable staff and a range of events and exhibitions throughout the year, the National Army Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in military history.
10. The Pukaha National Wildlife Centre
The Pukaha National Wildlife Centre in Wairarapa is a sanctuary for some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered native species. The centre offers visitors the opportunity to see and learn about these incredible creatures, including the iconic kiwi, kaka, and kokako. Visitors can take a guided tour of the reserve or explore on their own, immersing themselves in the natural beauty of the surrounding forest. With interactive exhibits, daily bird-feeding shows, and a range of other activities on offer, the Pukaha National Wildlife Centre is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in New Zealand’s unique wildlife.
Arts and Culture
The Manawatu Region is home to a vibrant and thriving arts and culture scene. The region boasts a range of galleries, museums, and cultural events throughout the year, showcasing the works of local artists, musicians, and performers.
The Manawatu region is home to a vibrant and diverse theater scene, with several top-notch venues showcasing a variety of performances. The Regent on Broadway is a magnificent Art Deco theater located in the heart of Palmerston North’s central business district, hosting blockbuster musicals, plays, and live music shows. Centrepoint Theatre, a hub for emerging New Zealand talent, offers thought-provoking and inspiring performances. The volunteer-run Globe Theatre provides a unique platform for amateur performers, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds to create engaging and entertaining productions. In Feilding, the Little Theatre offers an intimate setting for a range of productions and also provides training opportunities for aspiring performers and theater enthusiasts. Whether you’re interested in world-class performances or community-based theater, the Manawatu region has something for everyone. Come and experience the magic of theater in this dynamic and exciting region.
The Manawatu region has a thriving music scene, with a range of live music events and festivals happening throughout the year. From intimate gigs in cozy venues to large-scale outdoor concerts, there is something for everyone. The city of Palmerston North is particularly vibrant, with regular performances by both local and international artists at venues like The Stomach, The Globe Theatre, and The Regent on Broadway. Many of the region’s bars and restaurants also host live music events, creating a lively atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. With a rich and diverse musical heritage spanning jazz, rock, indie, and more, the Manawatu region is a must-visit destination for music lovers.
The Manawatu region has a vibrant arts scene, with a range of galleries, exhibitions, and events showcasing the work of local and international artists. The city of Palmerston North is home to several notable art institutions, including the Te Manawa Art Gallery, which houses a collection of contemporary and traditional artwork. The Feilding Art Centre is another must-visit destination, with regular exhibitions and workshops offering visitors the opportunity to engage with the region’s rich artistic culture. From street art to sculpture, the Manawatu region is a haven for art enthusiasts looking to explore and experience the diverse and dynamic creative offerings of this beautiful part of New Zealand.
The Manawatu region has a rich multicultural heritage. This diversity is celebrated through a range of festivals and cultural events, including the annual Pasifika Festival and the Multicultural Festival in Palmerston North. These events showcase the region’s rich cultural traditions, with music, dance, food, and crafts from all over the world on display. Visitors can also explore the region’s history and heritage at sites like the Coach House Museum and Te Manawa, which provide a window into the cultural and historical richness of the Manawatu. Whether you’re interested in learning about Māori culture, sampling Pacific Island cuisine, or experiencing the vibrant mix of cultures that make up this beautiful region, the Manawatu is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring New Zealand’s diverse cultural landscape.
The Manawatu region has a vibrant literature community, with regular events and activities celebrating the written word. Local libraries, bookstores, and cultural institutions regularly host author talks, book clubs, and literary festivals, showcasing the region’s talented writers and encouraging a love of reading and writing. Whether you’re interested in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or children’s literature, the Manawatu has something to offer. Visitors can explore local bookstores and libraries, attend literary events, and engage with the region’s passionate and talented writing community.
Palmerston North is a vibrant city located in the heart of the Manawatu region on the North Island of New Zealand. Known as the “Student City” due to its large student population, Palmerston North is home to a diverse range of cultures, art galleries, theaters, music venues, and museums.
One of the most iconic landmarks of Palmerston North is The Square, a large open space surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops. The Square also hosts various events throughout the year, including the annual Christmas Parade, the Palmerston North Food and Beer Festival, and the Festival of Cultures.
Palmerston North is also known for its stunning parks and gardens, including the Victoria Esplanade Gardens and the Manawatu Gorge. The Victoria Esplanade Gardens is a sprawling park that features a rose garden, aviary, miniature railway, and a cafe. The Manawatu Gorge, on the other hand, is a natural wonder that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
For those interested in history and culture, Palmerston North has several museums and art galleries to explore. The Te Manawa Museum is a must-visit destination, featuring interactive exhibits on science, art, and culture. The New Zealand Rugby Museum is also a popular attraction, showcasing the rich history of rugby in New Zealand.
Palmerston North is also a hub for the arts, boasting several theaters, music venues, and literary events. The Regent on Broadway is a grand theater that hosts a range of shows and performances throughout the year. The Centrepoint Theatre, on the other hand, is a smaller venue that specializes in producing original New Zealand plays. For those interested in music, the city has several music venues, including The Stomach, a community-focused music and arts venue.
Palmerston North is also a great base for exploring the wider Manawatu region, with several attractions and destinations located within easy reach. The Pukaha National Wildlife Centre is a short drive away, offering visitors the chance to see endangered birds and animals up close. The Feilding Farmers Market is also a popular destination for foodies, offering fresh local produce and artisanal products.
In summary, Palmerston North is a vibrant and diverse city that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, the arts, or simply want to relax in beautiful surroundings, Palmerston North has it all.
Food and Drink
The Manawatu region is a foodie’s paradise, offering visitors a range of diverse and delicious dining experiences. The region is well known for its fertile land, which produces a variety of fresh, locally sourced ingredients that are used by the area’s top chefs and restaurateurs.
Palmerston North, the region’s largest city, has a vibrant and lively dining scene, with a range of cafes, bars, and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. For those looking for a fine dining experience, restaurants such as Aberdeen on Broadway, La Patio Cafe, and Nero Restaurant are popular choices. These establishments offer an array of delicious, locally sourced ingredients, coupled with impeccable service and a sophisticated atmosphere.
For those who prefer a more casual dining experience, there are plenty of options in Palmerston North, including Cafe Cuba, Cafe Royale, and Cafe Brie, which are known for their great coffee, fresh, homemade food, and relaxed atmosphere.
Outside of Palmerston North, there are many hidden gems throughout the region. The town of Feilding, just a short drive from Palmerston North, is home to the Feilding Farmers Market, which showcases the best of the region’s produce. Here visitors can indulge in fresh baked goods, artisan cheeses, locally sourced meats and much more.
Another popular spot for foodies is the small town of Ashhurst, which is located on the outskirts of Palmerston North. The town is home to the Ashhurst Inn, which offers a cosy and intimate atmosphere and serves up delicious, home-cooked pub food. The Ashhurst Domain is also a great spot for a picnic or a barbecue, with plenty of open space and beautiful scenery.
The Manawatu region is also known for its vibrant craft beer scene, with a number of breweries and taprooms throughout the area. The award-winning Brew Union, located in the heart of Palmerston North, offers a range of handcrafted beers and delicious pub fare. The popular boutique brewery, Tuatara, is located just outside of Palmerston North in the town of Woodville.
For those who prefer wine, the Manawatu region has a number of vineyards and cellar doors, such as the Berrysmith Vineyard and the John Hill Estate Winery. Here visitors can sample the region’s best wines, and take a tour of the vineyards to learn about the winemaking process.
Finally, for those with a sweet tooth, the Manawatu region has plenty of options for dessert lovers. The Esplanade Scenic Railway Cafe is a popular spot for ice cream and other treats, while Cafe Cuba in Palmerston North is known for its delectable homemade desserts.
Located in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, Manawatu is known for its vibrant nightlife and a thriving student community. The region is home to a number of bars, clubs, and other exciting activities that make it a popular destination for tourists and visitors.
One of the most popular events in the Manawatu nightlife scene is the Palmerston North Night Market, which takes place every Friday evening. The market features food stalls, live music, and a lively atmosphere that attracts both locals and tourists alike. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of international cuisine, including Thai, Japanese, Indian, and Mexican, as well as traditional New Zealand fare like fish and chips and meat pies.
Another popular event in Manawatu is the annual Summer Concert Series, which takes place at the picturesque Wharerata Gardens. This series features a lineup of international and local acts, and draws crowds from across the region. Visitors can enjoy live music in a stunning outdoor setting, surrounded by lush greenery and beautiful gardens.
For those looking for a night out on the town, Manawatu has plenty of bars and clubs to choose from. The city of Palmerston North is particularly known for its vibrant bar scene, with popular spots like The Daily, a cozy and welcoming spot known for its craft beers and live music. The Royal, on the other hand, is a popular sports bar where visitors can catch a game and enjoy a cold beer with friends.
For a more upscale experience, The Fat Farmer is a stylish and sophisticated wine bar and restaurant that offers an extensive selection of New Zealand wines and delicious tapas-style dishes. The Speights Ale House is another popular spot, offering hearty pub fare and a wide selection of beers on tap.
In addition to bars and clubs, Manawatu has plenty of other activities for visitors to enjoy. The region is home to a number of museums and galleries, including the Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History, which features a range of interactive exhibits and displays. Visitors can also explore the stunning Manawatu Gorge, which offers hiking trails and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
For students, Manawatu is an ideal destination thanks to its thriving student community and range of affordable activities. The city of Palmerston North is home to Massey University, one of New Zealand’s largest universities, as well as the International Pacific College, which attracts students from all over the world.
Students can enjoy a range of affordable activities in the region, including movie nights at the local cinema, cheap eats at the night market, and discounted drinks at student-friendly bars like The Daily and The Royal.
Manawatu is known for its vibrant event calendar and welcoming atmosphere. The region boasts a range of events and activities that are perfect for tourists and visitors, from food and wine festivals to outdoor adventures and cultural celebrations.
One of the highlights of the Manawatu event calendar is the Palmerston North Night Market, which takes place every Friday evening. This bustling event features a range of food stalls offering international cuisine, live music, and a lively atmosphere that attracts locals and tourists alike. Visitors can sample delicious food and drink while enjoying the vibrant energy of the night market.
Another popular event in the Manawatu region is the annual Feilding Craft Market, held in the charming town of Feilding. This market features over 200 stalls showcasing locally made crafts, clothing, jewelry, and more. Visitors can browse unique and handmade items while enjoying live music and delicious food from local vendors.
For those interested in music and arts, the Globe Theatre in Palmerston North hosts a range of events throughout the year, from theater productions and live music concerts to art exhibitions and poetry readings. The theater is a hub of creativity and cultural activity, and a great place to soak up the local arts scene.
The region is also home to a number of outdoor events, including the Manawatu Walking Festival, which takes place in April each year. This event offers a range of guided walks through some of the region’s most beautiful landscapes, including the stunning Manawatu Gorge. Visitors can enjoy fresh air and exercise while taking in the natural beauty of the region.
For those interested in food and wine, the Manawatu region is home to a number of food and wine festivals throughout the year. The annual Taste of New Zealand event, held in Palmerston North, showcases the best of New Zealand cuisine, with local chefs and food producers showcasing their wares. The Manawatu Wine and Food Festival, held in March, offers visitors the chance to sample some of the region’s best wines and culinary delights.
Finally, the region celebrates cultural diversity with events such as the annual Pasifika Festival, which showcases the culture and traditions of the Pacific Islands through music, dance, and food. This event is a great way to learn about the cultural heritage of the region and experience the warm hospitality of the local community.