Located in the lower part of New Zealand's North Island, Manawatu is named after the dramatic Manawatu River. One of few rivers in the world that cuts through a mountain range, the Manawatu region is situated on the south-western side of the island. Located around 2 hours north of Wellington, the main city of Manawatu is Palmerston North which is bordered by the Ruahine and Tararua mountain ranges and is divided by the spectacular Te Apiti - Manawatu Gorge.
A sophisticated and diverse city, Palmerston North features a variety of things to see and do such as museums, rose gardens, cafes and restaurants as well as a vibrant arts scene and internationally acclaimed theatre scene. The local music scene is also thriving with a mix of 'underground' and mainstream venues catering to a wide audience. Art galleries and heritage collections are prominent, however the New Zealand Rugby Museum is also a popular attraction and offers rugby legend history, along with some of the rarest rugby artefacts in the world.
The Manawatu region is packed with culture and heritage, great scenery, things to do and wildlife as well as some of the best driving routes. Escape the main highways and heavy traffic and drive the Country Road, to discover the best the region has to offer. Stormy Point Route is a scenic alternative with fantastic lookouts over ancient river terraces. The Pohangina Valley Route is another scenic drive that travels through small communities, wetlands, walking tracks and Totara Reserve Regional Park of the incredible Ruahine Mountain Ranges. The Iron Gates Experience offers a secluded section of Manawatu featuring camping, hiking, trekking, a country pub and natural attractions.
Culture and heritage comes to life with the Horse Drawn Era Museum and Feilding's Steam Train Museum as well as the cultural museum of art, science and history in Te Manawa. Showcasing heritage collections, the museum also highlights the region's science and contemporary art. Offering an insight into early pioneer life, the Coach House is a museum revolving around the horse-drawn era and tells of the settlement of Manawatu through photos, stories and transportation.