1. Walk the Tawa Loop at Manawatu Gorge
Delve into the native forest of the stunning Manawatu Gorge! The Tawa Loop is a 2-hour loop walk starting on the roadside of Manawatu Gorge and taking you deep in the forest. Highlights of the walk is a side track to a massive landslip that closed the Manawatu Gorge Road for a year, and also the giant metal sculpture of a Maori warrior nestled in the forest. For more walks in the area, check out 26 Awesome Hikes Around Palmerston North.
Location: State Highway 3. From the car park at the Ashhurst end of Manawatu Gorge.
2. Visit the Te APiti Windfarm
Stand underneath a wind turbine and enjoy the views of the surrounding windfarm and rolling countryside. The Te Apiti Windfarm Lookout can either by drove to or ridden by bike up a winding sealed road to a large parking area. Interpretation panels give interesting facts about this sustainable energy generation. You can access the wind farm between 8am and 5.30pm.
Location: Saddle Road, Ashhurst.
3. Explore the Ashhurst Domain
The Ashhurst Domain has something for everyone, whether you want to let the kids run around in the playground or take a peaceful bushwalk. The surrounding native forest is rich in birdsong and there are plenty of walkways along the river to views of conservation wetlands.
Location: Napier Road.
4. Wander around the Greenhough Gardens
This perfect photo spot is filled with rows and rows of impeccably maintained rose, lily, bearded iris and poppy gardens backed with a quaint white cottage. Walk by ponds, pass through the shaded walk and return via the plant nursery. Greenhaugh Gardens is open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.
Location: 914 Napier Road.
5. Hike the Manawatu Gorge Bush Walk
For a longer adventure in Manawatu Gorge, take the 10km Manawatu Gorge Bush Walk. This 4-hour one-way hike incorporating an amazing array of trees from species of ferns and vines to tall podocarp trees and tropical-looking nikau palms. The track is not a loop so you will either need to return the same way or organise transport at the other end of the track.
Location: State Highway 3. Access is from the Ashurst end of Manawatu Gorge in the car park right next to the entrance of the gorge. Alternatively, start from Ballance Gorge Road at the Ballance Gorge Bridge.
6. Visit The Herb Farm
The Herb Farm is a cafe and gift shop set among gorgeous themed gardens. The herbs in the gardens are used to make natural products which are made and sold on-site.
Location: 86 Grove Road.