Hunterville: New Zealand’s “Huntaway” Capital
This small rural town on State Highway 1, halfway between Wellington and Taupo, is well worth stopping by on any North Island road trip! Experience rural New Zealand at its best with stunning viewpoints that will have you snapping more photos than you know what to do with, to pleasant walking tracks providing a great excuse to get out of your car and stretch your legs. Better yet, if you’re travelling in a self-contained campervan, then you can make use of the picturesque free campsites in the area. Take a look at the things to do in Hunterville listed below!
1. Walk the Bruce Park Loop Track
The Bruce Park Loop Track is an easy track making a figure of eight so you can cut the walk short or complete the whole loop (20 minutes – 1 hour). Walk through a large archway memorial dedicated to the conservationist, Robert Cunningham Bruce, into the forest. For more walks in the area, take a look at 26 Awesome Hikes Around Palmerston North.
Location: Silverhope Bush Road.
2. Soak in the Views From the Stormy Point Lookout
The detour from Hunterville down State Highway 54 is well worth the short drive to this breathtaking viewpoint. Stormy Point is one of the best-preserved series of river terraces in the world. Beyond that, the 360-degree views of the Rangitikei Valley, Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu in the distance are more astonishing sights!
Location: State Highway 54 just northwest of Waituna West, approximately 19 km (12 mi) from Hunterville.
3. Walk, Have a Picnic or Camp at Queens Park
The rest stop of all rest stops on State Highway 1, Queens Park not only provides a pleasant shady woodland area for picnics and bushwalks but even a place for self-contained campervans and motorhomes to camp for free overnight. There are also public toilets, a children’s playground and the pride of the town, the “Hunterville Huntaway Dog Statue”.
Location: Pourewa Road (State Highway 1) opposite the BP fuel station.
4. Visit the Hunterville Settlers Museum
Almost every small town in New Zealand has one and Hunterville is no different. The Hunterville & Districts Settlers Museum is a treasure trove of years gone by with early settlers’ farming equipment, vehicles and much more. The museum is set in an old courthouse built in 1895. Find it open on Fridays 2 pm-4 pm. Entry is around NZ$2.
Location: 10 Milne Street (State Highway 1).
5. Play Golf at the Rangatira Golf Club
One of the most picturesque golf courses in the lower North Island is also one of the cheapest! The Rangatira Golf Club is set on three levels right beside the stunning Rangitikei River. Walking around the 18-hole course is easy, although golf carts are affordable to hire, plus there is even an electric cable car to get from one level to the other. For more excellent golf courses, see our 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
Location: State Highway 1, north of Vinegar Hill.
[UPDATE] Relax at the Simpsons Scenic Reserve
[Update: The Simpsons Scenic Reserve is no longer accessible due to road damage. See the Department of Conservation website for updates].
Either make this relaxing grassy area your picnic spot while on the road, or you can even pull over and freedom camp at the reserve providing that you have a self-contained campervan.
Location: Murimotu Road.
More Things to Do Near Hunterville
While you’re in the area, take the time to explore the surrounding towns in the Whanganui-Manawatu region:
That’s it for the best things to do in Hunterville. For more activities on your travels, check out the 51 Best Things to Do in the North Island.