1. Visit the historic Shannon Railway Station
Set among the scenic gardens in Te Marie Park, the Shannon Railway Station is the last remaining station of the Wellington & Manawatu Railway Company. The station, built in 1886, has a little museum and visitor centre, which is open 10am-3pm daily. The station is still used as a stop on for the Palmerston North – Wellington commuter train.
Location: State Highway 57, Shannon Town Centre.
2. Walk the Mangahao Makahika track
Part of the Te Araroa Trail (a trail that goes through the entire length of New Zealand), the Mangahao Makahika Track is a 6-7 hours one-way trail between Shannon and Levin. Follow the trail alongside the hillsides of the Tararua Forest Park.
Location: The easiest side to start on is from the Shannon side on Mangahao Road, past the Arapeti Dam.
3. See native birds at Owlcatraz
Visit this native bird and wildlife park set among native bush and farmland on a self-guided or guided walk. The highlight is the owl enclosure with no glass and cages so there are no barriers between you and the birds. The enclosure even mimics the weather patterns experienced in the birds’ natural environment. Owlcatraz is open daily 10am-3pm.
Location: 44 Margaret Street.
4. Hike the Burtton’s Track
This 17km hiking and mountain biking trail extends through the Tararua Forest Park between Palmerston North and Shannon. The trail takes 6-7 hours to complete one way, taking you deep into native forest and following the Tokomaru River. There are a couple of streams to cross.
Location: Starting from Shannon, the track is at the junction of Mangahao & Tokomaru Valley Roads.
5. Play a round of golf
Have a great day out in the outdoors at the Buckley Golf Club! With views of the Tararua Ranges, this 16-hole course has fun challenges for both beginners and seasoned golfers. Enjoy this undulating course with meandering bends and even a crocodile?! For more golf courses worth playing at, see 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
Location: Engles Road.