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Manawatu Cycleway

OverviewTrail Status: Open

Mangaweka — Palmerston North (2-3 days, 115km one way)

This ride through scenic back-country New Zealand takes you through the heart of rural Manawatu and on into the urban centre of Palmerston North city. Cyclists will be treated to some of the very best New Zealand has to offer, including soaring white mudstone cliffs in Mangaweka, the dramatic backdrop of the Ruahine Ranges and lush farmland along the Pohangina Valley terraces. This off-the-beaten-track ride takes you on a journey to discover hidden places and tucked away treasures, ranging from convivial country cafes and pubs; heritage sites, galleries and gardens to scenic reserves, day walks, swimming holes, glow worm caves, picnic areas, and camping spots. Recommended as a two-day trip, cyclists are able to truly enjoy the region’s friendly hospitality and stunning countryside. This route follows the Manawatu Scenic Route, the official scenic driving route.

The trail can be ridden all year round, but the best riding conditions are in Summer and Autumn (late November to early May).

The trail is Grade 3 (Intermediate) and includes a couple of good climbs, so it is recommended for fit and experienced cyclists only.


Be sure to check out the Ruahine Dress Circle Reserve. This swimming and picnic spot off Lagoon Road sits on a river bend and is surrounded by cliffs and dotted with waterfalls. Early settlers named the spot the dress circle because the cliffs reminded them of an opera house. The turn-off is 11km south from the Mangaweka Bridge.


As you head along Pohangina Valley East Road, be prepared for some amazing photo opportunities as you wind your way down through lush green terraces and valleys of native bush. You’ll be treated to gorgeous views, which are particularly spectacular during the Autumn months. In Summer there is blueberry picking and plenty of great spots to swim in the river.


If nature is your thing, Totara Reserve has fantastic camping facilities surrounded by a large native forest. Bush walks, nature trails and great swimming spots all make for a good stopover.

Be Prepared

MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Available in most places, but not all of the cycleway.

FREE Wi-Fi: Ashhurst, Apiti, Rangiwahia, The Square in Palmerston North city, Awastone Campground, Mangaweka.

TRAIL SURFACE: 100% sealed

DRINKING WATER: There are plenty of places to fill your water bottle along this cycleway.

Weather Info

The trail can be ridden all year round, but the best riding conditions are in Summer and Autumn (late November to early May).

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