Manawatū River Shared Pathway

Our awa walkway spans more than 10km from end-to-end. If you want to tease your wanderlust and embark on the full journey, start at Paneiri Park off Maxwells Line and you'll end up at Riverside Drive. If you're simply after a stroll, good news! There are lots of access points to choose from.

We’re encouraging everyone to be safe around our awa (river) this summer.

Water Safety NZ says anyone near our awa should follow these handy tips to keep you and your whānau safe.

Wait 72 hours after rainfall before entering the river

Rivers are changeable and unpredictable – particularly after heavy rainfall. Riverbanks can also become unstable during and after heavy rain.

Check weather forecasts including rainfall in the hills above that could fill the streams and rivers where you are.

Look before you leap – check for hazards

Upstream, downstream and where you’re swimming. Rivers contain hidden dangers and swimming holes can change depths from summer to summer.

Always enter feet first and establish an exit point before you enter.

Keep looking

  • Can you see the bottom?
  • Is it deep enough for jumping or diving?
  • Does the riverbed drop away close to the edge?
  • Could you handle the current if you got swept away?

Rivers can be dangerous for a number of reasons

  • They can be very cold.
  • They are affected by the weather and can rise and fall quickly. 
  • The current can be strong even if the river looks calm and the water is slow moving. 
  • A person doesn’t float as well in river water as they do in sea water; someone in a river current will use a lot of energy to keep themselves afloat. 
  • There are often hidden objects.

Signs of an unsafe river 

  • Water moving faster than normal walking pace. 
  • Discoloured, cloudy water.
  • Visible debris such as tree branches, rocks and logs.

A safe rescue is a land-based rescue

Dial 111 immediately if you see anyone in danger, so emergency services can get there as soon as possible.

If someone is being swept downstream, the only safe rescue is a land-based rescue. Do not enter the river after them. It is unlikely you will be able to reach them to help them and you may need to be rescued yourself.

  • Follow the person in trouble down the riverbank.
  • Find a safe place where the person may be able to swim towards the bank.
  • Use an object like a tree branch to reach out over the river.
  • Encourage the person in trouble to grab the branch or paddle and hang on.
  • Pull them to the riverbank and help them out.

If you cannot rescue the person safely from the bank:

  • Encourage the person to turn on their back and float feet first down the river
  • If practical, throw the person a buoyant object like a bucket, chilly bin or ball that they can hang onto and use to keep themselves afloat. 

Learn more about how to keep you and your whanau safe in, on and around the water

Download the translated posters

These are translated posters of the water safety information.

They are available in different languages. Download and share them with your friends.

English(PDF, 480KB)  Burmese(PDF, 541KB) Dari(PDF, 528KB) Dzongkha(PDF, 535KB) Karen(PDF, 531KB)

A woman standing on the pathway next to the riverbank, holding a small shaggy dog and gazing out over the water to the trees on the opposite bank.

Manawatū means 'heart standing still' as that's what happened when ancestor Hau saw our river. After a lot of travelling, Hau looked upon the river with great apprehension and then his heart stood still when he saw its mighty size and beauty.

This family-friendly pathway is a popular one for Palmy people and it offers breathtaking views in whichever direction you decide to go, so grab your walking shoes and get on your way!

Dogs may be off-leash (but under control) everywhere except between Fitzherbert Bridge and He Ara Kotahi bridge, and along the He Ara Kotahi pathway to Linton.

There's a variety of different people and animals that share this path, so please, keep an eye out for one another.

Distance: 10.3km

Surface: Limestone, concrete, asphalt

How to get there

You can access Manawatū River shared pathway from any of the entrances below. They're listed from north to south:


  • 2.68km – Maxwells Line to He Ara Kotahi Bridge (at Dittmer Reserve)
  • 1.37km – He Ara Kotahi to Fitzherbert Bridge (the back of the Victoria Esplanade)
  • 1.74km – Fitzherbert Bridge to Albert Street
  • 0.58km – Albert Street to Waterloo Crescent
  • 0.58km – Waterloo Crescent to Ayr Place
  • 0.79km – Ayr Place to Ruahine Street
  • 1.21km – Ruahine Street to Ruamahunga Crescent
  • 0.38km – Ruamahunga Crescent to Napier Road
  • 0.95m – Napier Road to Riverside Drive


Carparks, picnic tables and seating. Toilets at Paneiri Park, Dittmer Drive, Fitzherbert Avenue and Ruamahunga Crescent.

Special attractions

Fenced dog park at Ahimate Reserve, mountain biking trails, native bush, river views, river access, open parkland, open-air gym equipment, BBQs (in Victoria Esplanade), a part of Te Araroa Trail, glow paths (Albert Street)

Horses and dogs welcome

Dogs must be on-leash between Fitzherbert and He Ara Kotahi Bridges. The rest of the pathway is a dog exercise area, where you can walk your dog off-leash.

Note, there's often livestock grazing in paddocks next to the pathway between Ruamahanga Crescent and Riverside Drive.