Manawatu Gorge Track

Type: Walk | One-way
Distance: 11km one-way
Time: 3-5 hours approx.
Fitness Level: Medium

Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is the divider of the Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay regions – enjoy one of our country’s most iconic natural playgrounds. Covered in ancient bush and home to a variety of wildlife, Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is steeped in legend and has many a story to tell. Explore the walking tracks and you’ll come face to face with the sculpture of Whatonga, an ancient warrior who stands guard over the forest.

High above the river and gorge below, this one way walking track is saturated in native bush, native birds providing an awe-inspiring experience. Viewpoints are dotted along the track allowing you take a peak at beautiful scenery.


Nature & Conservation

Passing through unique landscapes of steep greywacke ranges covered in vegetation, you will predominantly find tawa and podocarp forest, along with broadleaved trees and Nikau Palms. What makes Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge so unique is the maidenhair fern, only found in the Manawatu in New Zealand.



The Manawatu Gorge Track is accessible from two car parks at either end of the Manawatu Gorge located on SH3. Drive in, or alternatively contact the Palmerston North City i-SITE to arrange transport on 0800 626 292.

Ashhurst end entrance
Located approximately 16 km east of Palmerston North adjacent to State Highway 3. The car park is located on the left side of the road immediately before The Gorge entrance. From the car park, you walk under a gate at the end of the lot to the pedestrian track, which runs alongside the road for a few meters, until you reach an underpass. Signs lead the rest of the way.

Alternative route at the eastern end of the Manawatu Gorge track
(The Upper Gorge Bridge track, also known as the Klein track)
Upper Gorge Bridge is the road bridge on SH3 that crosses the Manawatu River at the eastern end of the gorge, a little before the turn off to Ballance Gorge Road. There is a small bay on the shoulder of the road (river side) just west of the Upper Gorge Bridge, with room for 3 – 4 cars.

The start of the track is on the opposite side of the road, but there is no need to cross it as there is an underpass beneath the bridge. You just walk to the start of the bridge and follow the track under it. You pop up on the other side of the road, where the start of the track is sign-posted.

Track Guidelines

Taking care of the Track
The Gorge’s isolation, wilderness and natural surroundings, make it a place of untamed beauty, but that beauty needs to be maintained and respected.

The Department of Conservation promotes the principles set out by Leave no Trace. Following these principles will ensure the longevity of our native bush lands and walkways.

– Plan Ahead and Prepare
– Travel and Camp on Durable Ground
– Dispose of Waste Properly
– Leave What You Find
– Respect Wildlife and Farm Animals
– Be Considerate of Others

Note: Predator traps may be set off the track. If you come across a trapping device, do not touch it.

Mountain biking / Te Eke Paihikara
Mountain biking is not permitted on walking tracks in the Manawatu Gorge.
E kore te Mountain te pahikara tukua ki te e haereere ana huarahi i roto i te tāwhārua o Manawatū.

Dogs / Nga Kuri
Dogs are not permitted as poisons are used in the reserve.
E kore e kuri e āhei rite paihana kua whakamahia i roto i te rāhui.

Enjoy your visit and leave the land undisturbed.
Fiefia i to koutou haerenga, me te waiho i te whenua houkura


Before your next trip, make sure you read and understand The Outdoor Safety Code, as well as telling someone your plans – your safety is your responsibility. Check out the links below to help you plan your next outdoor adventure.

Alerts   |   Weather   |  The Outdoor Safety Code   |   Leave No Trace