Tawa Loop

Type: Walk | Loop
Distance: 4km
Time: 2 hours approx.
Fitness Level: Medium

If you want to see all the beauty that Te Apiti has to offer, but don’t want to tackle the Main track then the Tawa Loop Walk is for you. This track provides all the beauty and wilderness of the main track, with less than half the distance and half the time.

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.

Tawa Loop is a metal track following a steady 5% gradient, however is steep in places and can prove challenging. This loop walks branches of the Manawatu Gorge Track 500m into the walk. Upon meeting up the the main track again, you can choose to either go straight ahead to venture down to the ‘Big Slip Lookout’, or turn left and head back down the main track to return to the Ashhurst end car park.


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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.



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.


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