Mangaweka to Palmerston North
Please note: we are in the process of mapping the new Manawatu Cycleway and will have this available shortly. In the meantime please use these maps:
The New Zealand Cycle Trail has made its way to the Manawatu Region with an on-road trail from Mangaweka to Palmerston North City. Named the Manawatu Cycleway on The Country Road, this 126km ride takes you through the heart of rural Manawatu into the urban centre of Palmerston North City.
Traveling north to south, start in Mangaweka at the Hub Café, under the DC 3 aeroplane. Here you can stock up on supplies, fuel up on coffee and chat to the friendly locals to find out the best-hidden spots to see along your journey. 700 metres up the road, you will find Ruahine Road. Ride past the Mangaweka Campground and over the bridge. Expect to be greeted with incredible views of soaring white papa (mudstone) cliffs and magnificent cobbled river terraces.
8km from the start of Ruahine Road, you will find Mt. Huia Farmstay and a further 2km from here is Mairenui Rural Retreat. Rangiwahia is only 10km from here, and has public toilets, campsites and some amazing history. Back on the road, past Ruapuna Park & Museum, head down Te Parapara Road for some of the best scenic views. Be sure to check out the Rangiwahia Dress Circle Reserve, this attractive picnic spot sits on a river bend, surrounded by cliffs and dotted with waterfalls.
Lush farmland with the Ruahine Ranges as a backdrop greets you as you enter Main South Road. Stop for a break at Michael Bourkes Wetlands, a series of ponds that are home to native birdlife and trout. From the start of Main South Road, Apiti is 17km away, but well worth the journey. Along the way, be sure to get your photo taken next to Conspicuous Road. Head to the local tavern in Apiti, Blancheys, for a hearty meal, or wander through Mageo Woodcraft & Gardens and the Apiti Museum.
On from Apiti, head back up Oroua Valley Road and into Pohangina Valley East Road. Be prepared for some amazing photographic opportunities as you wind your way down into the Pohangina Valley. 26km from here, you will find the small, basic Piripiri Campsite run by the Department of Conservation. Just down the road is Springvale Gardens & Accommodation, then the Pilgrims Rest Tea Rooms (open on weekends), home of the friendly deer named Chicken.
This area is rich in native bush and has a good range of bush walks for all abilities. Head down past Konewa Cottage B&B and the historical Komako Church, and you will find Totara Reserve, a playground of native bush, glow worm caves, swimming holes and campsites with great facilities. 12km on from here is Raumai Reserve, a great place to cool off in the river, camp or use the restrooms. Head down the road and turn left onto Pohangina Road. You will pass by Valley Road, which is home to the Pohangina Estate Winery. Next along the route is The Waterford Café & Bar, offering a deck and gardens for summer dining, or a roaring fireplace indoors for the cooler months.
Continue down Pohangina Road for 8km and you will find the township of Ashhurst. Stop for coffee at Fusion Cafe, picnic on the Village Green or camp and explore Ashhurst Domain. Ashhurst Inn offers all day dining and good accommodation. From Cambridge Ave, exit right onto Napier Road (SH 3). From here it is just under 11km to the Manawatu Riverside Walkway and Bridle Track, via Te Matai Road. Take your time along the Bridle Track; there is 6km of Scenic River to ride alongside. At the Fitzherbert Avenue Bridge, take the path under and around the bridge and head up Fitzherbert Ave. 2km later and you will find yourself in The Square of Palmerston North City.
Highlights of the inner city are the free Wi-Fi, a smorgasbord of fantastic cafes and the unique arts trail offering up sculptures from all over the world. Make sure you visit Te Manawa museum, gallery and science centre, also home to the New Zealand Rugby Museum.
Talk to the team at the i-SITE Palmerston North for ideas on the next leg of your journey.
There are many fantastic places to visit and stay around the Manawatu Cycleway of The Country Road. For more detailed information on things to see and do, get your copy of The Country Road map & guide.
To pick up your free copy visit:
- Palmerston North City i-SITE, The Square Palmerston North
- Feilding & District Information Centre, Manchester Square, Feilding
- The Country Road
80% sealed road / 12% gravel road / 8% gravel path
All year round, but the best riding conditions are in summer and autumn (late November to early May)
Buses go to Mangaweka, and both buses and trains go to/from Palmerston North.