The Manawatu River Estuary is also recognised internationally as one of the most important estuarine ecosystems in New Zealand and is of interest for bird watchers, photographers, artists and ecologists.
Facilities include a boat launching ramp and wharf on Hartley Street. The wharf is a popular fishing spot for youngsters.
Foxton Beach is a holiday town, so there are excellent facilities close to the estuary. Foxton swimming beach is just 5 minutes away over the sand dunes. Further information on the Foxton Beach coastal reserves can be found here.
Water quality at the Manawatu River Estuary depends on the tides and whether it has rained recently in the Manawatu Catchment upstream. That means it is almost always safe for swimming when the tide floods into the estuary and is generally safe for swimming on an outgoing tide, except during and after a river fresh.
Water quality in the Manawatu River Estuary is a result of what happens in the huge catchment area upstream of it. Horizons works to improve water quality by:
Industry, councils, iwi and environmentalists have made a promise to look after all the rivers in the Manawatu Catchment. It is called the Manawatu River Leaders' Accord and more information can be found here.