Ashhurst Domain: Te Matairangi o Te Papa Rehia o Ashhurst

Discover lush natural surrounds echoing with rich birdsong in one of Manawatū’s precious remnants of native bush. This is a great spot for the whole whānau, whether you're into bushwalking, biking, bird watching, camping, picnics, playing sports, swimming or walking the dog. All you need to do is get into it!

Local mum Donna shares why Ashhurst Domain is her favourite Palmy park.

Ashhurst Domain lies just 14 kilometres east of Palmerston North on State Highway 3, nestled beside the Manawatū River and the Ashhurst township. Truly nature’s playground, the Domain has more than 54 hectares of barbecue and picnic areas, camping ground, sportsgrounds, kid's playground, native bush, wetland, walking tracks and river access.

A great spot for birdwatching

Imagining an earlier time before settlement is easy in the Domain’s native bush. Native wood pigeons, tūī, bellbirds, grey warblers and fantails abound, their melodic call echoing through spectacular growth of trees, shrubs and undergrowth.

Enjoy an encounter with endangered waterfowl in the Domain’s wetland area, or catch a glimpse of white-faced herons, pied stilts, swans and numerous species of duck from the elevated viewing platform. Important for species conservation, the wetland is a storehouse for plants and insects, and helps with the region's flood control.

Photo shows closeup of child gazing upwards and touching the trunk of a huge tree.

River access

In summer take refuge in the cooling waters of the Manawatū River. Swimming areas at the base of the Domain are a popular haunt. Or try your luck with the river’s many trout – but make sure you get a fishing licence first!

The Domain is an ideal spot for canoeing and kayaking. And you can enjoy jet skiing and other motorised water sports on the river, just not around the swimming areas.


Feeling energetic? Take a trip along one of the reserve's shared pathways. 

Photo shows children swinging on climbing bars in the Domain playground.

Dogs and horses welcome

Some parts of the Domain are off-leash while others require your dog to be on a lead. Please observe any signs, pick up after your dog, and ensure they are under control at all times.

  • Upper circuit walkway: dog exercise area (off-leash)
  • Campground: on-leash

Please note, dogs are prohibited from all playgrounds and sportsgrounds, and the wetlands conservation area.

Chill out

Kick back and let the kids, young and old, wear themselves out in the playground or the sportsgrounds. You’ll also find plenty of space to meet with family and friends for picnics and barbecues. Bring your own barbecue or use the Domain’s. Toilets and shelter are nearby when needed.


Having such a great time you don’t want to leave? You don’t have to! The Domain has a campground with barbecue, fresh water, toilets and showers. Dogs are welcome. Call us on 06 356 8199 for more details. You don't have to book. Just find a spot and pitch your tent. Someone will come around each morning to collect the fee.

Photo shows campground set among trees at the Domain. There's a cute retro caravan in the foreground parked up next to matching car.


Ashhurst used to be the site of a pā. Otangaki is the name of this place - it refers to pulling out the weeds to prepare the rich soils for cultivation.

In the late 1800s access to the area was by river ferry until the first wooden bridge was built in 1886. When the bridge was badly damaged by severe flooding in 1895, the ferry was brought back into operation until 1909 when a replacement bridge was built. The current concrete bridge was constructed 1969.

Photo shows aerial shot of Ashhurst Domain including the pony club grounds, with lots of trees and the river and hills in the background.