While now closed to vehicles, the Manawatū Gorge is busy with birdlife, bikers and people enjoying the native bush.
Formed over thousands of years by the relentless course of the Manawatū River, the gorge – Te Āpiti – is a vast chasm through the mountainous spine of the North Island. It is also the only place in New Zealand where a river begins its journey on the opposite side of the main divide to where it joins the sea.
Walking trails, ranging from an easy 1.5-kilometre to 11 kilometres wind through the bush to many spectacular lookout points over the gorge and the river.
Tūī, bellbirds and kererū will keep you company on your walk.
Te Āpiti is also home to two mountain bike trails popular with keen riders. Choose from the fast-paced downhill ride of the grade four Te Ara o Mahurangi, or the longer, scenic Windfarm ride, suitable for active or experienced riders, which takes you past the towering and slightly eerie wind turbines that stud the hills.