Horowhenua’s most interesting town is FOXTON, 38km southwest of Palmerston North, where the old-style shop facades line the broad main street bypassed by SH1.

Archeological evidence suggests that there was a semi-nomadic moa-hunter culture in this area between 1400 and 1650, predating larger tribal settlements. Europeans arrived in the early 1800s and settled at the mouth of the Manawatu River, subsequently founding Foxton on a tributary. It quickly became the flax-milling capital of New Zealand, the industry only finally dying in 1985. A historic walk tells the tale through 28 plaques around town.

By early 2013, look out for the proposed new cultural precinct next to the windmill. Known as Te Awahou–Nieuwe Stroom, it’s designed to celebrate local Maori and the strong New Zealand–Dutch heritage, along with a visitor centre and library.

The long, sandy Foxton Beach is 5km away on the coast, where there’s good surfing, safe swimming areas and abundant birdlife around the Manawatu river estuary.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

New Zealand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
How to find the right New Zealand for you

How to find the right New Zealand for you

While it may not loom large on the world map, New Zealand feels incredibly vast and imposing on the ground, especially to those who try to visit the North and S…

23 May 2016 • Eric Grossman insert_drive_file Article
Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand

New Zealand’s craggy coastline and beautiful national parks are dotted with wildlife and beg to be explored. The scenery gets more spectacular around every co…

07 Mar 2016 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right