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 cut through a mountain range, the Manawatu region is situated on the south-western side of the island, with Palmerston North being the main city. Located around 2 hours north of Wellington, Palmerston North 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 do and see like museums, rose gardens, cafes and restaurants as well as a vibrant arts scene and internationally acclaimed theatre scene that represents all genres. 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, some of the rarest rugby artefacts in the world as well as the story behind the sport that shaped the nation.
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, a purposeful ‘back roads’ driving route to discover the best the region has to offer. Stormy Point Route is a scenic alternative with fantastic lookouts over ancient river terraces and connects Palmerston North and Feilding. The Pohangina Valley Route takes in the 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 including sheer cliffs with a powerful, pulsing river.
Culture and heritage comes to life with Homeprint, 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, contemporary art and nationally significant taonga. 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.