Whether you’re looking to get away from it all, get amongst the great outdoors, or reconnect with friends and Whānau, Manawatū has all the right ingredients for an unforgettable experience.
The vibrant city of Palmerston North has plenty to keep you and your whānau entertained. For indoor fun, Te Manawa, a museum drawing art, science and heritage together, has over 300 interactive exhibits exploring themes such as electricity, time, human biology and aspects of natural history.
New Zealand Rugby Museum
Within Te Manawa sits the iconic New Zealand Rugby Museum, where you’ll explore how Aotearoa’s rich rugby heritage has shaped the nation and the world. Kids will love the “Have a Go” area, where people of all ages and abilities can test their rugby skills to see how they measure up to the boys in black.
If you’re after some fresh air and sunshine, explore He Ara Kotahi, the riverside pathway perfect for walks or wheels and offering stunning views of the Manawatū River. Several bridges connect the route, including the star attraction, the He Ara Kotahi Bridge, which is lit up at night creating the illusion that it’s floating on the river.
Alongside the river, discover Victoria Esplanade, a diverse inner-city park with bush walks, bird aviaries, and picture-perfect rose gardens, several playgrounds and adventure forts, miniature train rides, and a state-of-the- art Junior Road Safety Park.
At the centre of this park is Aotearoa’s only native wildlife recovery centre, Wildbase Recovery. Learn about our native wildlife with a tour and meet the resident animals and patients rehabilitating after treatment at Wildbase Hospital. The interactive educational area is perfect for kids of all ages, and you’ll get up close to some of Aotearoa’s favourite birdlife.
Feed the Eels
Don’t miss the latest addition to the city, a purpose-built platform on the Manawatū Awa (river) where you can feed the eels (Tuna) and learn how they once thrived in the river and the importance of this indigenous fish, vital to the health of our waterways. You’ll leave with an increased awareness of traditional cultural practices and the power of our awa.
Lido Aquatic Centre
The Lido Aquatic Centre offers the thrill and excitement of the tallest and only Superbowl in the North Island, an open-flume Speedslide that will propel the bravest of riders at up to 17 metres per second, while the little ones are kept entertained with the AquaPlay multi-level interactive play areas.
For some active indoor fun, try out one of the city’s fully equipped trampoline parks which offer activities for both adults and kids to enjoy. Test out your bouncing skills or have a battle through the different activities on offer, from Olympic trampolines, climbing walls, ninja assault courses, under-fives areas and more. Refuel at the on-site cafés or sit back with a barista-made coffee while you watch the kids having fun.
The Herb Farm
Venture just outside the city for a delicious lunch at The Herb Farm, a beautiful cafe and shop set in rural surrounds. Let the kids loose to explore the themed gardens as they find fairies, gnomes, and elves hidden in the woods, while you peruse the beautiful natural skin care products made on-site.
Extend your trip to take in friendly Feilding, a charming rural town with red-brick pavements, flower baskets, and warm welcomes wherever you go. On a Friday, the town is humming with the award-winning Feilding Farmers’ Market offering artisan products, locally grown goods, and delicious treats.
Feilding is home to the largest saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere where you can get a guided tour from a local drover who will take you through the live auctions to see one of New Zealand’s oldest traditions in action. Visit the Coach House Museum to learn about our pioneering past, with hands on exhibits for the kids.
Where to stay
Finish the day off with a unique overnight experience and treat yourself and your loved ones to a stay in one of the many boutique accommodation options. From hosted lodges to secluded retreats, you can choose from tiny homes, country lodges, and Kiwi farm stays, each with spectacular scenery, farm fresh food, and friendly faces from the families sharing their little slice of paradise.
Whether you like to explore the great outdoors, learn about nature, or gain a taste of our Kiwi heritage, Manawatū is ready to show you what it’s made of.
Choose Unforgettable, Choose Manawatu. Plan your adventure today at ManawatuNZ.co.nz.
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