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Taranaki, Whangahui & Manawatu Backpackers & Hostels

Less trodden, but no less interesting are the areas of Taranaki, Whangahui & Manawatu which are located in the central and lower parts of the North Island. Whanganui was one of the fist cities to be founded in NZ and now boasts a large and vibrant art scene. Taranaki and Manawatu are perfect for thrill seekers with a huge variety to offer such as river rafting, surfing, jet boating, bungee jumping and snowboarding.

Currently 11 hostels in this area

Filter by Location: View All , Manawatu (2), Taranaki (4), Whanganui (5)

Taranaki's five eco friendly unique budget accommodations in amazing locations that I have developed in all my favourite destinations spread throughout Taranaki.
Eco friendly, great nights sleep, peaceful, clean, unreal surroundings, beach, city, mountain, National Parks


Taking its name from the volcano which dominates its coast, the Taranaki region on the west coast of the North Island is yet another geological curiosity. The almost perfectly cone-shaped Mt. Taranaki stands alone, seemingly an ancient breakaway from what was once its home amongst the Tongariro ranges. It forms the centrepiece to a region rich in Maori history and significance, being home to many tribes since the 13th Century.

Much like Bay Of Plenty, the history of Taranaki has been one of disquiet and unease between traditional Maori tribes and European settlers, and for much the same reason. The land is among the richest in New Zealand, with Taranaki itself giving the soil a unique fertility, and its bounty was hotly contested towards the end of the 19th Century as Europeans and Maoris vied for possession.

Today, Taranaki is a prosperous agricultural hub, exporting its prized dairy produce around the world. And with its long sweeping coastline, forest trails and of course its active volcano, Taranaki is huge draw for travellers. The Egmont National Park features numerous walks, from the quick but beautiful Wilkies Pool and Kapuni Loop walks which skirt around the perimeter of Mt. Taranaki, to the more demanding three-day Pouakai circuit which benefits from the extensive hut network in the area. From one of the three visitor centres near the base, there are easy paths which take you to about half way up Mt. Taranaki, after which more experienced climbers can opt to reach for the top.

The coastal city of New Plymouth serves as the capital of the region. Its port, the only deep water port on the West coast of New Zealand, has made the city wealthy, and receptive to global influences. For a relatively small city away from the traditional tourist spots, New Plymouth has a very international feel. Its excellent restaurants are complemented the splendid Govett Brewster and Len Lye Gallery, and the city is dotted with numerous parks, one of which houses the Brooklands Zoo.


Home to the mighty and sacred Whanganui River, the Manawatu region is the British-shaped jigsaw piece which connects the tempests of the Tongariro fields with the forests and gentle flatlands of Wellington. Benefitting a great deal from the fertility of the neighbouring Taranaki, Manawatu was home to many Maori tribes, prizing it not only for its agriculture, but also for the Manganui River which receives tributaries from all over the island, and thus formed a connection to related tribes further north.

Palmerston North serves as the capital, but many of the smaller towns merit a visit, and are the gateway to the outdoor pursuits offered by the region. Towards the North, the little village of Taihape is secluded base from which to explore the Rangitikei River. Even more remote is the River Valley Lodge, which offers budget accommodation and activity packages with white water rafting, kayaking and horse-riding included. Further south, Mangaweka offers riverside camping along with the rafting experience.

If you’re looking to relax after the exhilaration of the canyon-ensconced river, the long arc of shoreline overlooking the South Taranaki Bight and the upper regions of the Cook Strait is home to many quaint little beach towns. Calmer than the surf-strewn and craggy beaches on the Waikato shoreline, you can enjoy long uninterrupted walks from Tangimoana to Himatangi Beach to Foxton Beach, each offering seaside accommodation and accessible by a short drive off Highway One.


Built along the banks of the Whanganui River, this lively city has grown from fairly humble beginnings, with early Maori tribes settling along the Whanganui River. With its location on the Cook Strait, European settlers brought commerce and trade to the town, and it was not without the same conflicts that blighted so many of the early European excursions. Whanganui suffered especially during the New Zealand Wars, as its location on the river made it a strategic prize, and worth fighting for.

However, similarly in line with many of the coastal cities – New Plymouth up the coast, and Napier and Tauranga on the East coast – Whanganui has benefitted from the international trade which its geographical position encourages. For a relatively small city, it features an abundance of gardens, and in particular the Winter Gardens and Bason Botanic Gardens are well worth a visit, featuring many flowers native to New Zealand. It also serves as a gateway to the Whanganui National Park. Often overlooked in favour of its neighbouring Tongariro Park, the Whanganui is much denser and a more tropical experience, with the lush forestry fed by the fertile volcanic soils. Visit the evocative Bridge to Nowhere in the mournful Valley of Abandoned Dreams, and enjoy the solitude which engulfed the early settlers in this region and left them penniless.



All Other Backpacker Hostels in This Area

River Valley Lodge
RD2, Taihape, Manawatu
+64 (0)6 388 1444
Anndion Lodge
143 Anzac Parade, Wanganui
+64 (0)6 343 3593
Tamara Backpackers Lodge
24 Somme Parade, Wanganui
+64 (0)6 347 6300
YHA Wanganui, Braemer House
2 Plymouth Street, Wanganui
+64 (0)6 348 2301 or 0800 278 299
Ducks & Drakes Backpackers
48 Lemon Street, New Plymouth, Taranaki
+64 (0)6 758 0404
Whanganui River Top 10 Holiday Park
460 Somme Parade, Wanganui
+64 (0)6 343 8402
42b College House
42b Campbell Street, Wanganui
+64 (021) 85 21 00
Sunflower Lodge
33 Timandra Street, New Plymouth
+64 (0)6 759 0050
Wave Haven Backpackers
1518 Main Road, Oakura, Taranaki
+64 (0)6 752 7800
Pepper Tree Hostel
121 Grey Street, Palmerston North
+64 (0)6 355 4054