Palmerston North

Visit Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

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  • Palmerston North, on the banks of the Manawatu River, is New Zealand’s seventh-largest city. It is known as a “knowledge capital”, home to five universities and polytechnics, and more than 60 scientific research institutes.

    The settlement of Palmerston was established in 1866, in thick bush that was cleared for farming. The suffix “north” was added by the Post Office in 1871 to prevent confusion with the town of Palmerston near Dunedin. Many locals today refer to their city as “Palmy”.

    Palmerston North has an internationally renowned contemporary art gallery, The Govett-Brewster. The city also has a significant museum that promotes itself as a centre of art, history and science discovery. A new addition to the city’s cultural heritage is the world’s first Rugby Museum.


    Accommodation in Palmerston North (NZ)

    Palmerston North has a wide range of hotels, motels and lodges that serve business travellers and visitors to the universities. Self-contained apartments are also available to rent.

    A number of accommodations are established in historic homesteads and cottages, which may run as home-stay / bed & breakfast establishments or as boutique luxury lodges.

    There are holiday parks and backpacker accommodations for budget travellers.


    Transport around Palmerston North

    Palmerston North is located on State Highway 3, not far from its junction with SH1, about two hours’ drive north of Wellington. It is about a one hour journey south of Wanganui. Woodville is about 45 minutes’ drive to the east.

    Inter-city coach services regularly connect with Wellington, Wanganui and other main centres. Within Palmerston North, there are five suburban bus routes, and local bus services to nearby towns.

    Shuttle and taxi transport around Palmerston North is easy to find. The city is also cycle-friendly, with many dedicated cycling lanes having been built recently into its road network.

    Two train services call at Palmerston North. The Capital Connection is a weekday-only service to and from Wellington City. The Overlander service to Auckland runs daily.

    Palmerston North’s International Airport serves flights from most of New Zealand’s main centres. Its connections with Australian airports have been intermittent over recent years.


    Tourist Activities around Palmerston North

    Many short walks in Palmerston North are to be found at parks and reserves along the Manawatu River. The Victoria Esplanade Gardens (built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 60th Jubilee) are foremost amongst them. These gardens have an aviary and mini-train ride to add to the fun and interest.

    Longer walks are to be found in the surrounding hills, including the Manawatu Gorge, Pohangina Valley, Mount Lees, and Coppermine Creek, near Woodville. Many more trails and tracks can be found in the Tararua and Ruahine mountain ranges.

    The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is one of New Zealand’s premier galleries and well worth visiting. Also recommended is the Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History. Sports enthusiasts might be interested to see the new Rugby Museum. There is also a branch of the Air Force Museum open to the public at Ohakea Air Base near the city.

    Leisure activities within the town include indoor car racing, a climbing wall, a mountain bike park and an aquatic centre that has waterfalls, slides and a diving pool.

    Palmerston North’s town centre, built around a square, has many restaurants and bars. There are theatres and concert venues that play host to local professional and amateur dramatic companies, as well as orchestral and choral musicians. There is also a vibrant local music scene that has nurtured some well-known rock bands.

    Palmerston North is well regarded for its shopping, which is said to be as good as anywhere in New Zealand. The Plaza complex is busy, with over 100 shops.

    Palmerston North hosts the Manawatu Food and Wine Festival in June each year, as well as a many sporting and cultural events throughout the year.

    • Scroll down for Palmerston North accommodation & activity listings


    Palmerston North