Relocating To Palmerston North

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Read about 'Relocating To Palmerston North' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.

Thinking about moving to Palmerston North and need to know the basics about climate, housing, demographics and all the best things to do? Read on for our in depth look at what makes Palmerston North the place to be this year.

Why Move To Palmerston North?

Located in the lower-central North Island, Palmerston North is a popular destination for tourists and locals when travelling from Auckland to Wellington but also for those wanting to get a glimpse into a more rural, peaceful aspect of New Zealand.

Palmerston North, or ‘Palmy’ as locals call it, offers excellent opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, with easy access to native bush, the spectacular Manawatu Gorge and the majestic Ruahine and Tararua Ranges. Add in some museums and gardens, arts and crafts, excellent food, shopping and nightlife – and there’s plenty to keep the whole family occupied!

Living In Palmerston North

Just two hours drive from Wellington, three hours from Taupo and seven hours from Auckland, Palmerston North’s central location provides easy access to a range of impressive nearby locations. These include the beautiful beaches and wineries of Hawkes Bay, the historic Maori heritage of the Taranaki region, and the rural splendour of the Wairarapa. 

Palmerston North is a rapidly growing city with a relatively young demographic due to its high population of tertiary students. Over half of the city’s residents are under 34 years old, earning it the colloquial name ‘The Student City’.

This younger demographic means the city is a popular destination for many sporting, cultural and musical events and gatherings. The city is also home to New Zealand’s one and only Rugby Museum which is top of many peoples To-Do List when visiting the city.

Top 3 Palmerston North Demographics

Take a look below for the current population of Palmerston North, its median age and origin demographics.

  • Population. Just over 80,000 people live in the city of Palmerston North, which equates to roughly 2 percent of New Zealand’s total population.
  • Age. The median age of people living in Palmerston North is 33.8 years old compared to 38 years for New Zealand as a whole.
  • Ethnicity. Around 78.9 percent of the Palmerston North population identify themselves as being European compared to 74 percent nationwide. 9.7 percent of the population identify themselves as Asian, 4.5 percent as Pacific peoples and 16.5 percent as Maori compared with 14.9 percent nationwide. The majority of migrants in Palmerston North originate from England.

Palmerston North Climate

Palmerston North maintains a relatively consistent climate year round with very few days per year rising above 25 degrees Celsius. Average highs in the summer months range from 20 to 22 degrees, with lows of around 12 degrees.

Across the winter months Palmerston North can be foggy with cooler mornings and a low number of sunshine hours. Temperatures range from around 13 degrees to 5 degrees. Palmerston North is also known for its windy conditions and in fact is home to a large number of wind farms for generating electricity, these are located in the nearby Ruahine and Tararua Ranges.

House Prices In Palmerston North

Most people find Palmerston North a relatively affordable place to live, with house prices traditionally much lower than other New Zealand cities. Rental accommodation commonly ranges from around $300 – $350 per week for a 3 bedroom house.

If wishing to purchase your own home, an average three bedroom home in Palmerston North will cost you around $300,000 to 350,000 with more extensive newer properties going for around $750,000. As with any city in New Zealand there are great variances in property pricing depending on the location, size of the property and type of home you are looking for.

Palmerston North Suburbs

At the very centre of Palmerston North City is ‘The Square’ which acts as a pivotal point for central business and retail. From this the city expands outwards forming a larger square of streets around the CBD which includes Ferguson Street, Walding Street and Princess Street.

To the north of central Palmerston North is the Airport, and the suburbs of Milson, Kelvin Grove, Papaeoia and Roslyn. Eastward you will find Hokowhitu and Terrace End, while to the west are the likes of Cloverlea, Takaro, and Highbury. Palmerston North’s southern suburbs are Awapuni, West End, and Massey which of course is home to the well-known Massey University.

Working In Palmerston North

Employment opportunities in Palmerston North are excellent, with huge demand for highly qualified specialists in the educational, research and healthcare sectors. Smart business, defence and distribution are also economically strong areas.

New Zealand’s largest army base, the Linton Army Camp is located on the outskirts of Palmerston North. The city is home to a large amount of educational institutions and research facilities that provide highly skilled employment opportunities.

Palmerston North Schools

As we have previously mentioned Palmerston North offers great opportunities for extended study in a wide variety of fields. One of New Zealand’s largest Universities – Massey is located there. Massey University offers world-class higher education and in fact is the only institution in NZ offering degrees in aviation, dispute resolution, veterinary medicine, and nanoscience. Massey is also NZ’s largest provider of Extra-Mural Studies (Distance Learning).

There are approximately 30 primary schools in Palmerston North, all of these are co-ed and range from Year’s 1 to 6, some catering for Year 1 to 8. There are a couple of Intermediate Schools with age groups catering specifically for Year 7 and 8.

There are approximately 10 Secondary Schools in Palmerston North with the main options being; Palmerston North Boys’ High School, Queen Elizabeth College, Freyberg High School, Palmerston North Girls High School, and Awatapu College. There is also a state-integrated Catholic secondary school, St Peter’s College.

Top 5 Palmerston North Highlights

Palmerston North is full of awesome opportunities to explore the great outdoors – the beautiful West Coast at Foxton is just 35 minutes away, the Ruahine Forest Park and the Tararua Forest Park both just an hour and a half away. Need more ideas on fun things to do in Palmerston North? Take a look below.

1. New Zealand Rugby Museum

Visiting New Zealand’s only official Rugby Museum is a must-do when in Palmerston North. Discover the best rugby artefacts in the Relics Gallery, learn about rugby greats of the past and give it your best shot in the ‘Have A Go’ area, where tackling, jumping, and kicking like a professional rugby player is a must!

2. The Victoria Esplanade

Taking a stroll around the sprawling 26 hectares that is Palmerston North’s Victoria Esplanade is the best thing to do when you have some leisure time to spend. Take your pick from beautiful rose gardens, a paddling pool and playground for the kiddies, carefully manicured croquet lawns, conservatory, arboretum, and native duck aviary, as well as the onsite café and to top it all off – the scenic miniature railway.

3. Te Manawa Museum Of Art Science And Heritage

Slow it down a little and spend some time exploring the wide range of exhibits at the Te Manawa Museum on Main Street. Open from 10 am to 5 pm daily the museum offers up a great selection of local and international artworks, hands-on science exhibits, heritage objects and natural history specimens.

4. Robertson Holden International Speedway

Speedway events are a popular occurrence in Palmy with many locals taking part on a regular basis. the Speedway offers up a regular schedule of Superstocks, Stockcars, Solos, Sidecars, Sprintcars, Minisprints and  both Adult and Youth Ministocks. Check out the PN Speedway website for a breakdown of upcoming events.

5. Owlcatraz – Native Bird And Wildlife Park

The Owlcatraz native bird and wildlife park features a good old Kiwi favourite – the NZ Owl (Morepork/Ruru), as well as the native Weka, glow worms, ducks and much more. Take a stroll around the purpose built wetlands with a guided tour and learn while you go! Owlcatraz is just 30 minutes’ drive south of Palmerston North.

Need transport for your move to Palmerston North? USAVE Car Rentals have a great range of affordable car, truck and van hire for all your moving needs. Or check out our New Zealand relocation advice and tips for moving home here.

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