Our 7 highlights from the region around Manawatu and Whanganui – Backpacking Tipps

Here are our highlights and recommendations for Whanganui and Manawatu

Whanganui and the region around Manawatu are not only known for the Whanganui Great Walk. Here you can also have a nice time at the sea, or spend your time at Freedom Camping. Our personal highlights from the region can be found here in the blog post.



Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve (Ferry Reserve Freedom Camping)

Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve, also known as Ferry Reserve, is a great place for freedom camping. On a relatively large and spacious field, you can prepare yourself with your vehicle or even a tent for a comfortable night. If the weather is good, you will also be shown a great starry sky. In the meantime, we have been here several times. Each time in good weather definitely worth a detour. There are also some hiking tours in the nearer surroundings. Have fun!


Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve Freedom Camping

Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve Freedom Camping


Whanganui Regional Museum

We visited the Whanganui Regional Museum already in 2017. Shortly before our departure back to Germany we made a short detour there. The museum itself is small but nice. It shows some things from the past of Whanganui and gives you interesting insights. The entrance is free, but we are happy about a donation. Have fun discovering the history of Whanganui.


Kowhai Park Car Park (Freedom Camping)

Located directly on the Whanganui River, there is the option of Freedom Camping if your vehicle is Self-Contained. There you can spend a maximum of 2 nights at a time. Ideal for exploring Whanganui, or simply spending a night in case of bad weather. Especially in summer it gets crowded at Kowhai Park Car Park. But still a good spot in the region.


Kowhai Park Car Park Freedom Camping

Kowhai Park Car Park Freedom Camping


Republic of Whangamomona

Along the Forgotten World Highway there is the Republic of Whangamomona. This self-proclaimed republic prides itself on its independence from New Zealand as it is far from the nearest city in both directions. Along the State Highway 43 (SH43) this is a good spot to get naturalised. You can get a new passport for a donation at the local pub. But we have not tested how well you can travel with this passport. Fortunately, you don't have to hand in your existing passport, so you can continue travelling as a dual citizen and don't have to spend your life in Whangamomona.

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Tourist gag or serious? It's definitely worth a stop.


Whangamomona Hotel

Whangamomona Hotel


Forgotten World Highway (SH43)

The Forgotten World Highway, runs from Stratford to Taumarunui. The highway is one of the few state highways in New Zealand that are still built as gravel roads. The highway itself leads over small hills and with many curves, through some narrow tunnels. You will also pass through the above-mentioned village of Whangamomona.

If you like you can also camp for one night along the Whanganui River. More about this in the next paragraph.


View on a part of the Forgotten World Highway

View on a part of the Forgotten World Highway


Ohinepane Camp Site

The Ohinepane Camp Site is part of the Whanganui River Journey Greatwalk. It can also be visited by vehicle via the Forgotten World Highway. We spent one night there away from civilisation. The only sounds we heard besides the constant water noise of the river were the barking of the local farm dog who apparently didn't like our presence.

Thanks to the remoteness, you can take perfect pictures of the starry sky here with cloudless skies.


Ohinepane Campsite

Ohinepane Campsite at the Whanganui River


Whanganui River Journey Great Walk

The 145-kilometre-long river journey from Taumarunui to Pipiriki takes an average of 5 days by canoe. A shorter 3-day trip from Whakahoro to Pipiriki is also possible. Every trip on the Whanganui River requires a good level of fitness and confidence in the use of the canoe.

Seasonal Restrictions:

During the season of the Great Walks (October 1 – April 30):
Reservations are required for cabins and campsites.

Outside the Great Hikes season (1 May – 30 September):
Reservations are not required – huts and campsites are served on a “first come, first served” basis.


Questions, comments or further tips

Do you have any other tips for the Manawatu and Whanganui region? Then we look forward to your comment here under the articles.

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More posts to the New Zealand Regions

We have made a map for your easy navigation, with which you can visit the respective contribution to the region directly. Have a look around what we like in the other regions!



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