Pohangina Valley Activities You Can’t Miss
Want to see the New Zealand countryside at its best? The Pohangina Valley makes for a stunning road trip through the Manawatu-Whanganui region with plenty of reasons to make pitstops, whether it’s for walks or to wander in the gardens. The landscape changes throughout the valley with terraces, green pastures and rolling hills to forest-covered mountainsides rich with ancient native bush. In this whopping list of 14 things to do in the Pohangina Valley, you’ll see that there are plenty of reasons to stick around.
To complete your Pohangina Valley road trip, visit one of the nearby towns with more amazing activities:
1. Walk and Camp in the Totara Reserve
Nestled in the Pohangina Valley, this 400ha (988-acre) reserve is one of the last remaining ancient forests that once covered the entire region. It really feels like you’ve stepped back in time while you enjoy the walks and campsites in the reserve.
Location: Pohangina Valley East Road.
2. Camp for Free at the Piripiri Campsite
Go back to basics and enjoy the wonderful environment that the Pohangina River has to offer. This free and basic Department of Conservation campsite is surrounded by forest for spotting local birds. Learn more about Camping in New Zealand.
Location: Pohangina Valley East Road.
3. Walk the Kahikatea Walk
This easy-going 30-minute walk is suitable for all ages. Take the Kahikatea Walk to see an impressively large rata tree, as well as stands of large rimu and kahikatea trees. You’ll also enjoy views of the Pohangina Valley.
Location: Pohangina Valley East Road, past Komako.
4. Do the Fern Walk
This 2-hour 5km (3-mile) track is a fantastic bushwalk complete with old tawa and totara trees. It’s one of the best walks to do in the Totara Reserve!
Location: Totara Reserve, Pohangina Valley East Road.
5. Hike Up Mt Maharahara
One for the more experienced hiker who likes to bag their peaks. This is a steep and often muddy track through forest to the exposed rocky mountain-tops of Maharahara (1095m/3592ft). Note that the track is closed during September-October for the lambing season.
Location: Opawe Road, off Pohangina Valley East Road.
6. Walk the No. 1 Line Lookout Track
Another amazing walk in the Pohangina Valley is the No.1 Line Lookout Track. This 1-2 hour walk takes you to high viewpoints where you can see al the way to the coast on a clear day. You’ll also see huge rimu and rata trees.
Location: No.1 Line Road End.
7. Visit the Pohangina Heights Gardens
These wonderful gardens not only have beautiful displays of flowers, but the views from up here are also unbeatable! Visit the Pohangina Heights gardens for endless photo opportunities!
Location: 500 No. 1 Line, off Pohangina Valley East Road.
8. Horse Trek or Go on a 4×4 Safari at Makoura Lodge
This rural retreat is packed with activities to make the most of the wonderful Manawatu countryside. Go on a horse trek complete with river crossings, waterfalls and breathtaking viewpoints. Alternatively, there’s a 4×4 safari taking you over the craziest of obstacles or some simple fun with clay bird shooting and hole-in-one golf.
Location: 736, Makoura Road. Take the Pohangina Valley East Road to Apiti then access Makoura Lodge via Apiti. (The Makoura Road access directly from Pohangina Valley East Road is a steep and winding dirt road which is not suitable for some vehicles).
9. Taste Wine at the Pohangina Valley Estate
Book a wine tasting at this vineyard in the Pohangina Valley for an alternative experience. The small boutique winery and olive orchard has plenty to try for vegans and vegetarians too.
Location: 1034 Valley Road.
10. Wander Around the Tiro Roa Gardens
Looking like something out of a fairytale, these cottage gardens with an amazing backdrop of the Ruahine Ranges is a great little pitstop in the Pohangina Valley. Relax by the pond, wander among the trees, see what’s occupying the birdhouse and see hundreds of perennial flowers.
Location: 1116 Pohangina Road.
11. Taste Cheese at the Cartwheel Creamery
Yes, there is even an artisan cheese-making company right in the heart of the Pohangina Valley. The creamery is open for tastings on Sundays or by appointment.
Location: 1082 Pohangina Road.
12. Go Bird Watching at the Pohangina Wetlands
Follow the mown pathways between 22 ponds and five islands in this regenerating wetland area. Some of New Zealand’s most fascinating wildlife can be found in wetland areas such as the Pohangina Wetland. There are seating areas and lookouts to enjoy with backdrops of the majestic Ruahine Ranges.
Location: Just beyond 1238 Pohangina Road.
13. Beehive Creek Walk
A 2-3 hour walk close to Pohangina town, the Beehive Creek Walk is family-friendly and great option for summer, as there are some stream crossings. The walk goes over farmland to an awesome viewpoint over the Pohangina Valley and Ruahine Ranges.
Location: 2km (1.2 miles) north of Pohangina. Pohangina Road.
14. Walk the Branch Road Walkway
Follow an old road which was closed in the 1960s called Branch Road to Ridge Road where the track descends into open farmland with views. Then cross into native forest then exotic pine forest before exiting onto Kuku Road in the Pohangina Valley.
Location: Kuku Road between Pohangina Domain and Ridge Road.