We take our new 80 Series Landcruiser and the Hilux up into the hills above the Manawatu for a showdown - new vs old, husband vs wife - and to explore some awesome 4wd tracks high up in the hills. Driving with views this good is pretty hard to beat!
Alongside the Ballance Bridge, the Woodville Ferry Reverse is a large grassy plain located on the Manawatu River – at the mouth of Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge. With easy access to the river, this reserve is perfect for picnics and camping, and even has basic toilet facilities. Explore the small wetland, which is planted with native trees, and see if you can spot some local wildlife.
A muddy, rutty tricky little drive through the hills above Palmerston North, North Range Road will challenge most people while offering views out to both side of the North Island.
The track changes constantly and can be more of a challenge for wider vehicles.
If you haven't done North Range Road before it's best to go from the south end to the north as it offers more chances to turn around and less chance of needing to winch.
Camp on the Pohangina River - awesome little spot not too far away from Takapari Road or North Range Road.
Make sure to head down onto the river - the campervan camping spot is a little average
Climb your way into the Tararua Ranges - Takapari Road is one of the highest public roads in New Zealand topping out around 1400m. A fine day is almost a must up here, the views are well worth the wait. Beyond the hut lays a much harder section of track that shouldn't be tackled alone.