6 Best Things to Do in Mangaweka


Mangaweka Activities You Can’t Miss

Thousands of people drive past the little North Island town of Mangaweka every day when travelling on State Highway 1. However, it’s hard to not be intrigued by the vibrantly colourful buildings and a huge plane pointing right onto the highway! Beyond the characterful buildings, there’s a whole lot of things to do in Mangaweka!

Mangaweka is situated in the Rangitikei district of the Manawatu-Whanganui region, meaning that the Rangitikei River is right on the town’s doorstep promising heaps of awesome adventures. Rafting, kayaking and fishing are some of the ways to enjoy the beautiful Rangitikei River. Alternatively, get great views of the river and surrounding countryside from the local scenic reserve. Finish up your visit to Mangaweka with a coffee at one of the cafes and a quick look around the art gallery.

For more awesome places to explore near Mangaweka, take a look at 7 Terrific Things to Do in Taihape and 7 Things to Do in Rangiwahia!

1. Visit the Mangaweka Gallery

This turn-of-the-century church turned art gallery features the work of award-winning New Zealand artist, Richard Aslett, as well as other local artists. You can’t miss the building just off State Highway 1!

Location: State Highway 1, Mangaweka town centre.©

2. Kayak or Raft the Rangitikei River

White water raft or go on a guided kayaking trip on the mighty Rangitikei River with Awastone. Visit the famous Lord of the Rings filming locations and enjoy trips suitable for all ages. Power and non-power camping is also available, as well as a licensed cafe in summer.

Location: 143 Ruahine Road (1km off State Highway 1 along the river’s edge).

Awastone© Awastone

3. Do the Mangaweka Scenic Reserve Walk

This easy 1-hour loop walk is a great way to soak up the scenery of Mangaweka. Take in the views of the Rangitikei River and Mangaweka township as you pass native New Zealand trees along the way.

Location: 600m (656 yards) down Te Kapua Road.

lesbardd on Wikipedia© lesbardd on Wikipedia

4. Check Out the Mangaweka Power Scheme

See a 10m (33ft) high dam that was built in 1911 at the Mangaweka Power Scheme. A historical display explains the significance of the dam and energy production.

Location: Kawhatau Valley road, off Ruahine Road.

Brian Stocks on Flickr© Brian Stocks on Flickr

5. Go Fishing on the Rangitikei River

The Rangitikei River is famous for its abundance of trout. Join a local guide at Green Trout Guiding to try your hand at fly fishing, with on-foot, rafting and heli-fishing options. Learn more about What You Need to Know About Fishing in New Zealand.

Location: Kawhatau Valley Road, Road 7.

USFWS Mountain-Prairie on Flickr© USFWS Mountain-Prairie on Flickr

[Unavailable… For Now?] Visit Mangaweka International Airport

[Update: The iconic Mangaweka DC3 plane has been dismantled for repair. We will update this page if/when the plane returns to Mangaweka. The Mangaweka International Airport Cafe has also closed].

Yes, it’s impossible to not notice the DC3 aeroplane in the middle of the town. Under the plane is the Mangaweka International Airport Cafe, making a good coffee stop for your road trip. Alternatively, check out the Papa Cliff Cafe for home-baked goods.

Location: State Highway 1, Mangaweka town centre.©

Things to Do Near Mangaweka

That’s it for the best things to do in Mangaweka. For more activities on your travels, check out the 51 Best Things to Do in the North Island.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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