The Complete Guide To Palmerston North

Sunday, May 10th, 2020

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One of the lesser known cities in NZ, Palmerston North is a great place to unwind and enjoy the more rural side of New Zealand. Surrounded by lush farmland, forested hills and native bushland, this beautiful city provides a perfect base for exploring the wider region. Palmerston North is widely known for its vibrant University life, good cafes and restaurants, and a busy shopping and business district.

Don’t want to stray too far from the central city? Palmerston North’s thriving art and theatre scene, excellent selection of annual sporting events will keep you entertained! Find out all you need to know about Palmerston North, where to stay, what to eat and the best things to do below.

About Palmerston North

Number eight on the list of New Zealand’s largest cities, Palmerston North is an affordable choice for the budget conscious traveller with plenty to see and do. Easily accessible, you can come from the north via Auckland and down through the Waikato region, or from Rotorua via the central highway Desert Road, or from Palmerston North’s closest main city – Wellington in the south.

Palmerston North Weather

Palmerston North summers tend to be a little on the short side however temperatures remain comfortable throughout with average day time temperatures sitting around 16 to 22 degrees Celsius. Palmerston North winters are generally cold and wet, with accompanying fog and wind at times. Average temperatures in winter sit around 10 to 12 degrees Celsius, frosts are common but it does not snow in the city. Annual rainfall is approximately 960 mm. See here for more detailed information on Palmerston North Weather.

Population Of Palmerston North

According to the 2018 census data the population of Palmerston North is 84,639 people, approximately 4,560 up from the 2013 census and almost 7000 up from 2006. The resident population has experienced steady growth over the last ten years.

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Palmerston North Growing Tourism Trade

While Palmerston North may not be the first thing that pops into your head when thinking of a weekend getaway or well-earned family break its popularity as a tourist destination is growing according to recent regional tourism estimates from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The Manawatu-Whanganui region has taken out 8th place for regional visitor spending (including both domestic and international) for the year ending March 2020, coming in well ahead of Hawkes Bay, the West Coast and the Nelson region, with a total of $1049 million.

Out of the different industry sectors across the Manawatu-Whanganui region retail holds the title for the largest area of spending with fuel coming in second and food and beverages following in a close third.

Taking out the tops spots on the regional tourism estimates list are Auckland at $8814 million, Otago $4001, Canterbury $3958, Wellington $2755, Waikato $2743, Bay of Plenty $1997, with Northland its nearest competitor at $1119 million.

Why Is Palmerston North Growing In Popularity?

The city of Palmerston North makes up the majority of that $1049 million dollars with a whopping $433 million in annual visitor spending, up 10% from the same time last year. Retail makes up the clear majority of Palmerston North’s spending at 42%, with service based food and beverages, transport, tourism products, accommodation, alcohol, fuel and recreation making up the remaining 58%.

With a clear majority of Manawatu-Whanganui visitor spending coming from domestic sources it is understandable that the region has a strong focus on domestic visitors.

Making the most of its central location, ideal event and conference hosting abilities, well stocked retail sector, family friendly attractions and lower everyday costs Palmerston North has placed its self in an ideal market for domestic and international visitors.

Development In Palmerston North

Increases in visitor spending have contributed to growth and development across the region including 1.5 billion dollars’ worth of expansion and construction projects expected to start within the next 10 years.

The largest of these projects include a Defence Force Hub centred at Linton and Ohakea’s air force base renewal project, amounting to nearly $600 million. Just under $300 million allocated to new Palmerston North Hospital facilities.

The beginning of the long-awaited ‘ring road’ effectively creating a bypass for Palmerston North City from Longburn, through Kairanga and Bunnythorpe, reconnecting with State Highway 3 near Ashhurst.

Massey University’s $184 million extension plan, housing redevelopment plans from Wallace Development, and a $150 million dollar upgrade and expansion of the Powerco’s network also make the list of significant investment projects.

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Best Ways To Get There

Palmerston North is located within the lower central part of the North Island of New Zealand. It is roughly half way between Lake Taupo and Wellington. Getting to Palmerston North is easy from either the north or south by car and there is also a domestic airport with regular flights from Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

Palmerston North Flight Times

  • Auckland to Palmerston North 70 minutes
  • Hamilton to Palmerston North 50 minutes
  • Wellington to Palmerston North 35 minutes
  • Christchurch to Palmerston North 75 minutes

The Palmerston North airport is just 10 minutes’ drive (5km) from the central city. Car hire and taxi services are available from the terminal building.

Palmerston North Drive Times

  • Auckland to Palmerston North 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Hamilton to Palmerston North 5 hours
  • Rotorua to Palmerston North 4 hours
  • Taupo to Palmerston North 3 hours
  • Wellington to Palmerston North 2 hours
  • Christchurch to Palmerston North 6 hours (ferry crossing not included)

The ferry from Wellington to Picton takes approximately 3.5 hours, waiting for scheduled ferry times may add to the amount of time it takes to complete your drive to Christchurch. For more information on inter-island ferry services in New Zealand see here.

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Wind turbines Palmerston North

Best Ways To Get Around

Spanning just under 400 square kilometres Palmerston North is a relatively small city making it easy to get to all of its main attractions, restaurants and bars without too much trouble. 

3 Best Palmerston North Transport Options

For those seeking to get the most out of Palmerston North and its surrounds hiring a car is the easiest and most convenient as public transport is limited to within the city limits and on to destinations like Wellington and Auckland. However if staying within the city limits travelling by bus can be a good option.

Here is a quick rundown of the 3 best ways to get around Palmerston North with helpful timetable and schedule links.

1. Bus Travel In Palmerston North. Travelling by public bus is a good choice when planning on staying within the city limits. Horizons Regional Council runs regular bus services in Palmerston North City see here for the scheduled bus timetable. Investing in a local ‘GoCard’ will make for more seamless travel and the fares are a bit cheaper too! The Palmerston North bus ‘Main Street Terminal’ is located just off The Square on Main Street opposite the District Council buildings.

2. Renting A Car In Palmerston North. Hiring a car is one of the best ways to travel in New Zealand as public transport can be limited especially in smaller towns and remote districts. In Palmerston North if you want to get out and about and explore the regions forests and hill country then hiring a car is the best option. Investing in a GPS navigation system with your car rental is highly recommended as it is much easier to find your way around.

3. Cycling In Palmerston North. Palmerston North is lucky to have an extensive network of cycle lanes, trails and tracks throughout the city and beyond. If you prefer a more environmentally friendly method of travel then cycling is the one for you! Take a look here for a handy map of the cycle lane network in Palmerston North.

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Best Accommodation In Palmerston North

Arrived in Palmerston North and love it so much you don’t want to leave? See below for the best accommodation options, from the cheapest through to that little touch of luxury!

1. Ridge Top Farm

Glamping anyone?

The fantastic Ridge Top Farm camping experience provides that traditional kiwi outdoor camping experience but without all the hard work! Wake up and enjoy the comforts of  fully equipped luxury tent style accommodations complete with separate toilet and kitchen hut on a remote 1500 acre farm – what more could you want!

  • Distance From Central Palmerston North. 50km, 45 minutes’ drive
  • Address. 1027 Waituna Tapuae Road, Feilding
  • Price Guide. $190-220 per night for two people

2. Distinction Palmerston North Hotel & Conference Centre

4 Star Hotel with service to match.

Everything you would expect from a 4 star hotel, the Distinction Hotel includes free WiFi, central location and well-appointed rooms. Good value, convenient accommodation with good conference facilities and onsite restaurant.

  • Distance From Central Palmerston North. 1 km, 4 minutes’ drive from the Square
  • Address. 75 Cuba St, Palmerston North 
  • Price Guide. $100 to 220 per night

3. Aubyn Court Spa Motel

Something a little bit special!

A modern boutique style motel with just that little bit extra! The Aubyn Court Motel’s 30 units have spa baths and super-king size beds in every room, free WiFi and is within easy walking distance of the city centre.

  • Distance From Central Palmerston North.  1 km, 7 minutes’ walk or 4 minutes’ drive to the Square
  • Address. 360 Ferguson Street, Palmerston North 4441
  • Price Guide. $140 to 210 per night

4. Bella Vista Motel

Clean affordable accommodation

Just a short stroll from Palmerston Norths Square, the Bella Vista Motel 18 offers clean affordable rooms with free WiFi, free parking and interconnecting rooms available on request. Studio and one bedroom units are available with king, queen or single bed configurations.

  • Distance From Central Palmerston North.  1 km, 4 minutes’ drive from the Square
  • Address. 174 Fitzherbert Avenue, Palmerston North
  • Price Guide. $140 to 180 per night

5. Rose City Motel

Squash court, spa pool and trampoline – a great one for the active realaxers out there!

Good quality self-contained accommodation with plenty of on-site facilities including a squash court, spa pool, guest laundry, well-kept gardens and play-area with trampoline for the kids. The Rose City Motel is an affordable centrally located accommodation option particularly suitable for families.

  • Distance From Central Palmerston North.  650 metres, 4 minutes’ walk from the Square
  • Address. 120-122 Fitzherbert Avenue, Palmerston North
  • Price Guide. $125 to 160 per night

6. Palmerston North Holiday Park

Good old kiwi camping at its best!

Offering a selection of powered and non-powered sites along with standard cabins and a range of self-contained cabins the Palmerston North Holiday Park offers a budget conscious accommodation option for all kinds of travelers.

  • Distance From Central Palmerston North.  2.4 km, 5 minute drive
  • Address. 133 Dittmer Drive, Palmerston North
  • Price Guide. $30 to 110 per night

7. Quest Palmerston North

Hotel style accommodation right on the Square.

The Quest apartments are located right on the edge of the Square, with 40 well-appointed rooms in various studio, one and two bedroom configurations. Expect to find that home-away-from style experience with kitchens in each room, and make the most of the convenient location!

  • Distance From Central Palmerston North.  2.4 km, 5 minute drive
  • Address. 117 Fitzherbert Avenue, West End, Palmerston North
  • Price Guide. $140 to 220 per night

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Manawatu River Sunset

Best 10 Places To Eat In Palmerston North

Palmerston North has a great range of restaurants, cafes and takeaways with something to suit everyone’s tastes. When visiting an unfamiliar city finding the best places to eat can be tricky so we have put together this handy guide on where to eat in Palmerston North.

1. Nero Restaurant

Best for fine dining

If an award winning dining experience is what you are after then Nero is the one for you. Set in an old Victorian character home, Nero provides delicious locally sourced meals with wines to match along with an attention to detail and great service!

  • Our top picks – the Scallop & Pork Belly Ravioli and the steak (some say the best in town!)
  • 36 Amesbury Street, Palmerston North
  • Tuesday to Friday 11-2pm and again from 5 pm till late, Saturdays 5 pm until late

2. Table 188

Good food and great atmosphere!

Locally owned and operated Table 188 provides an intimate dining experience complete with modern European cuisine and locally sourced ingredients. The perfect option for a relaxed meal out with friends.

  • Our top picks – the Venison Wellington and the Pork Belly
  • Open Tuesday to Saturday 11am-2pm, and again from 5pm till late
  • 2 The Square, Palmerston North

3. Little Savanna

Meat, meat and more meat!

Serving South African inspired food with a kiwi spin on it, Little Savanna places it focus on ‘the grill’ providing an assortment of meats and yummy dishes centred around quality NZ products. Enjoy such South African treats as Billtong, Espetada and a full steak menu with everything from eye fillet through to a 500g T-bone!

  • Our top picks – the steak, … and the steak – cooked to perfection!
  • Open Monday 5pm – late, Tuesday to Saturday 11am – late and Sunday 11am – 10pm
  • 45-47 Princess Street, Palmerston North

4. Pho Nem Hanoi Home Cooking

Great takeaways when you’re on the go!

Traditional Vietnamese style foods cooked to perfection with dine in or takeaway options. Pho Nem is the perfect stop for lunch on the go or a quick no fuss diner and is conveniently located in the Square.

  • Our top picks – Goi Cuon (rice paper rolls), Pho (noodle soups) and Nem (deep fried Spring rolls)
  • Open 11 to 2.30 pm and then again from 5 to 8.30 pm
  • 68 The Square, Palmerston North

5. Barista

Great little café for some good coffee and hot chocolates!

At Barista expect to find you traditional café fare including French toast, eggs any way, chicken and beef salads, pasta and a big breakfast plate with a vegetarian option along with the usual cabinet foods such as sandwiches, pastries, quiches, cakes, cookies and slices.

  • Our top picks – the Feel Good Salad and the Antipasto Platter
  • Open 8am until late
  • 59 George Street, Palmerston North

6. The Elm Café

Sit back and relax

Cute little restaurant/café overlooking Wallace Park, The Elm Café offers a small but complete breakfast menu, set brunch and brassiere menu along with a small selection of good wines and non-alcoholic drinks. The Elm Café is the perfect option for a low-key relaxed long lunch.

  • Our top picks – the big breakfast and the sesame crumbed fish
  • Open Monday to Sunday 7.30 am till 4 pm
  • 283 Fitzherbert Avenue, Palmerston North

7. The Fat Farmer

Affordable well cooked food

The Fat Farmer is a cosy little restaurant and bar situated in Hokowhitu near the Golf Course. Its welcoming atmosphere and relaxed vibe make it the sort of place you will want to come back to again and again.

  • Our top picks – the slow roasted cauliflower and AngusPure beef short rib rack
  • Open Tuesday and Wednesday 4.30pm till late, Thursday to Saturday 3.30pm to late
  • 360 Albert St, Hokowhitu, Palmerston North

8. Cafe Zest

Best coffee and muffins!

Great little café with good gluten free and vegetarian options, choose from the usual kiwi cabinet fare along with a selection of menu items. Café Zest is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner weekdays only – don’t miss trying one of their muffins – delicious!

  • Our top picks – the toasted sandwiches and the Hawker Roll plus you can’t go past the burgers!
  • Open Monday to Friday 7am to 8 pm
  • 45 Ruahine Street, Palmerston North

9. Dejeuner

Best international food

Adding a touch of international flare to Palmerston North, Dejeuner serves traditional French inspired cuisine with a modern twist.  Professional attentive service and seasonal produce are what sets Dejeuner apart along with a relaxing and serene dining environment.

  • Our top picks – the grilled ostrich and lamb loin
  • Open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 2:30pm, and again from 5:30pm onwards (including Saturday)
  • 44 The Square, Palmerston North

10. Barley

100% Plant based takeaways

Serving 100 percent plant based food Barley offers up the best vegan burgers in town and awesome homemade cheesecakes served beautifully. The perfect place for a quiet inexpensive meal – don’t miss the chocolate chip pancakes!

  • Our top picks – the Moby Dick burger and the loaded Nachos
  • Open Wednesday to Sunday 12 to 9 pm
  • 382 Church Street, Palmerston North

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7 Best Things To Do In Palmerston North

While sporting events, conferencing facilities and education are all big draw-cards for many, Palmerston North also has a great range of activities and attractions to suit all ages and abilities. Here are our 7 best things to do in Palmerston North today!

1. New Zealand Rugby Museum

Experience the best of this popular New Zealand sport at the NZ Rugby Museum. Discover some rare rugby artifacts in the Rugby Relics gallery, learn about rugby greats and give it your best shot in the ‘Have A Go’ area where you can attempt tackling, jumping, sprinting and kicking like a professional rugby player.

2. Lido Aquatic Centre

An award winning aquatic centre and water park, the Lido is a great place for the whole family. The pool complex contains a variety of pools and facilities including indoor leisure and lap pools, sauna, spa, steam room, outdoor leisure and lap pools, hydroslides and a fantastic AquaPlay area. There is also a fully equipped Gym on site for those wanting to squeeze in a workout before hitting the spa.

3. Victoria Esplanade

Spread over a sprawling 26 hectares Palmerston North’s Victoria Esplanade is the one-stop-shop for all visitors to Palmerston North. Beautiful rose gardens, a paddling pool, playground, croquet lawns, conservatory, arboretum, native duck aviary, café and scenic miniature railway provide entertainment and fun for all ages.

4. Robertson Holden International Speedway

Based on the corner of Cuba and Pascal Streets, the Speedway offers up a regular schedule of Superstocks, Stockcars, Solos, Sidecars, Sprintcars, Minisprints and  both Adult and Youth Ministocks. See the website for a breakdown of upcoming events and fun for the whole family.

5. Manawatū River Pathway Extension

Feel like slowing it down a little? Take a walk along the edges of the Manawatu River. Perfect for those with pushchairs and bikes, the mostly flat path winds its way through grassed and planted areas while following the edges of the Manawatu River between Maxwells Line and Waitoetoe Park.

6. Te Manawa Museum of Art Science and History

Enjoy an easy afternoon exploring the exhibits at the Te Manawa Museum on Main Street. See artworks, hands-on science exhibits, heritage objects and natural history specimens from all three disciplines. The Museum is open daily and admission is free.

7. Owlcatraz

Palmerston North’s best kept secret, the Owlcatraz native bird and wildlife park features the NZ Owl (Morepork/Ruru), Weka, glow worms, ducks and much more. Wander the purpose built wetlands on a guided tour ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Owlcatraz is just 30 minutes drive south of Palmerston North.

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Best Day Trips From Palmerston North

Surrounded by beautiful forest, National Parks and with the stunning West Coast not far away Palmerston North is often used as a handy base for exploring the wider region. Within an hour’s drive you can visit Whanganui, Hunterville, the Ruahine Forest Park, Dannevirke, Pahiatua, Mount Bruce, Masterton, the Tararua Forest Park, Levin, Paraparaumu and everywhere in between! Take a look below for out top 6 day trips from Palmerston North.

1. Whanganui

Distance From Palmerston North 70 km, 1 hour drive

Nestled on the West Coast of New Zealand, Whanganui is an easy day trip destination from Palmerston North. Winding your way through New Zealand farmland the drive will take you West through Ohakea and Bulls and on to Whanganui nearing the coast as you go.

Highlights

  • The River Cruise. Once you arrive at Whanganui stop by the Whanganui Riverboat Restoration Centre and get on board the Waimarie (a restored paddle steamer) for a wonderful river cruise.
  • Durie Hill Walkway and Elevator. Stretch the legs and head on over to the Durie Hill Pedestrian Tunnel walk. Don’t worry after around 200 metres the famous Durie Hill Elevator will get you to the top without too much effort!
  • The Views. For spectacular views across the city and region, climb the nearby Durie Hill War Memorial Tower. Or take a stroll alongside the river for some fresh air and a go on the flying fox!
  • Jet Boating. Jump on board a jet boat tour with local company ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ and enjoy speeding along the Whanganui River and through the nearby Whanganui National Park. Tours last approximately 4 hours.

2. New Plymouth

Distance from Palmerston North 233 km, 3 hours’ drive

For this one finding you way is easy – just head towards Mount Taranaki! At the Hawera junction you can choose to take the Eastern route inland through Stratford, or stick with the coastline and take the slightly longer western route (this will add approximately half an hour to the journey).

Highlights

  • Mount Taranaki. Let’s get up on that mountain! Sometimes referred to as Mt Egmont, there are heaps of walking tracks on and around the mountain ranging from 15 minute to a 4-5 day circuit hike.
  • Scenic Flights. Looking for an easier way to tackle the mountain? Scenic flights are the way to go! Get great views from above by helicopter with the team at Ice Aviation or Precision Helicopters. On a good day the mountain views are absolutely stunning – remember flights will be weather dependent.
  • The Museum. Puke Ariki is the local modern science and history museum providing a peaceful place to learn a little about the local area and its people.
  • Hitting The Slopes. The Manganui Ski Area is located on the eastern side of the mountain and has a T-Bar, learner’s rope tow, access tow, and a fixed grip rope tow, ski and snowboard hire is available at New Plymouth (none on the mountain).

3. Tongariro National Park

Distance From Palmerston North 175 km, 2.5 hours’ drive

If skiing is your thing then it’s a hop skip and a jump up to the Turoa ski fields in the Tongariro National Park. Travelling north through Feilding, Taihape and Ohakune will bring you to the base of the Mount Ruapehu within 2 and a half hours.

Highlights

  • The Skiing (Obviously!). Spend the day on the slopes at Turoa and enjoy a wide variety of runs and facilities. These include one of the highest chair lifts, dedicated beginners area, wide open slopes and terrain parks.
  • Walking For Miles. Explore the waterfalls, trails and native forest of the Tongariro National Park. If you are an experienced hiker – take on the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing or try the Waitonga Falls Track for something a little less strenuous.
  • Horse Trekking. Feel like something a bit different? Horse trekking at Ohakune is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors from a different perspective! Choose from 30 minute to 3 hour rides and get to know your horse or pony along the way.
  • Giant Carrot Anyone? You simply can pass through Ohakune without checking out the towns very own giant carrot statue. You will find the giant carrot on Rangataua Road, on Ohakune’s main street, and surrounding the carrot is the Carrot Park which includes short walks, playground and a few vegetable friends!

4. Hastings

Distance From Palmerston North 160 km, 2 hours’ drive

Taking it to the east coast on this one, Hastings is an easy day trip option – particularly if good food and wine are high on your list of priorities! The region is known for its many wineries and restaurants along with fresh seasonal produce and outdoor activities.

Highlights

  • Winery Tours. While you can just make you own way around the various wineries taking a winery tour is a great way to leave all the stress to someone else and just enjoy learning about the different wines and their growing conditions.
  • Take A Ride Along The Beach. Horse riding along the beach is one of those must do activities when in New Zealand and what better place to do it then on the beautiful white sands and then along through the Clive Wetlands in the Waitangi Regional Park.
  • Making A Splash! Take on the thrilling water slides or lazy river, ride the miniature train, play a round of mini golf and try kart racing all at Splash Planet! The perfect way to spend a warm summer’s afternoon, the Splash Planet Theme Park is fun for the whole family.
  • The Weekend Markets. If you are in town over the weekend heading on down to the Hastings Farmers Market on Sunday is not to be missed. You will find a great selection of fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, bread, eggs, preserves and much more!

5. Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre

Distance From Palmerston North 64 km, 1 hour drive

Situated at the foot of Mount Bruce, the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is a great place to see some of New Zealand’s native birdlife and learn about conservation and research efforts. Explore the peaceful grounds with the aid of one of the knowledgeable guides to get the most out of your visit. At just on an hour’s drive from Palmerston North there is plenty of time to make the most of the whole day at the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre.

Highlights

  • Guided Tours. Gain insight into the resident wildlife and conservation efforts by taking a guided tour. Tours last approximately 1 hour and are priced at $45 per adult, $22.50 per child. Don’t miss the extremely rare White Kiwi (the only one in captivity in the world).
  • Guided Night Tours. Exploring the Wildlife Centre at night is a unique experience that adds a whole different perspective. See many of the nocturnal wildlife at their most active! Expect to see kiwi, wētā, and eels, and glow worms.
  • Ranger For A Day. With two options – one for adults and one for children aged 5 to 14 years these Ranger experiences are the best way to really immerse yourself in the wildlife experience and get the most out of your day. Spend the day exploring the native forest, meeting and feeding the birds and wildlife as you go.
  • Wildlife Photography Workshop. If you are in to getting that perfect photo – learn from the best at the onsite Photography Workshop. Scheduled to run only every second Saturday you might have to time your visit to include this one – but its worth it! Learn how to photograph birds in the wild, reptiles and flora and fauna as you make your way around the forest.

6. Paraparaumu And Kapiti Island

Distance From Palmerston North 90 km, 1 hour 15 minute drive

A beautiful coastal town halfway between Palmerston North and Wellington, Paraparaumu is the perfect spot for some fun in the sun. Grab a coffee at one of the beach front cafes and take a stroll along the beach, the Esplanade Reserve and through the Waikanae Estuary Reserve or take a trip out to Kapiti Island to explore!

Highlights

  • Scenic Flights. Jumping on board a scenic helicopter flight is a great way to see the Kapiti region from a different perspective. Choose from flights out over Kapiti Island, flying along the coast or inland through the Tararua ranges.
  • Kapiti Island. The Kapiti Island Nature Reserve is a predator-free sanctuary for New Zealand native birds and other wildlife. The Island provides a wonderful opportunity to see a number of species in their natural habitat including tūī, bellbirds, weka, kākā, kereru, saddlebacks, stitchbirds and takahē just to name a few! Entry to the Island is by approved guided tours only, the boat trip takes approximately 20 minutes.
  • Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club. This world renowned golf course is a destination in itself for all the golfing enthusiasts out there. Booking a Tee Time is essential with limited spots available; golfers have full access to the clubs facilities, golf carts and bar.
  • Horseback Riding Along the Beach. One of the most memorable ways to explore the beach, horse riding at Kapiti is available from several operators each with their own trails and interesting rides. Beach rides will vary but allow around two hours, you will need suitable footwear and long trousers.

Hiring a car is the best way to get around all of these great day trips, it means you can set your own timetable discovering unexpected gems and staying a while longer at your favourite spots! Rental cars are available from Palmerston North, see here for an indication of pricing.

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Manawatu River Bridge

Best Palmerston North Events

Here are just a few of the popular events held in Palmerston North every year, this list is by no means exhaustive. Regular sporting events including netball, boxing and rugby are held throughout the year along with many market style days, smaller niche performances, celebrations, exhibitions, animal shows and concerts, for more information on events held in Palmerston North see here.

1. The Festival Of Cultures

Celebrating the art, culture and lifestyle of the wider community, the Festival of Cultures offers a weekend of parades, markets, performances, music and demonstrations. Held in mid-March every year, festival goers are entertained by both local and international performers, the delights of the World Food, Craft and Music Fair, lantern making workshops, book presentations, cooking and fashion shows as well as the singing talents of the Manawatu Community Choir and IPU NZ Papuan Singing Group.

2. New Years Eve In The Square

See in the New Year at Palmerston North’s New Years Eve in the Square. Featuring live music, kids entertainment, performances from tribute bands, food, beverages and don’t forget the fireworks! Held in central Palmerston North at the Square, this event is family friendly and designed to be a fun way for all ages to see in the New Year.

3. Manawatu Professionals Big Rigs

A bi-annual event the Manawatu Professionals Big Rigs event takes place in the Square on the Railway Land reserve. Take a ride in one of the impressive Big Rigs (or get an awesome selfie!) and enjoy the festivities and entertainment on the day. Held in early April the Big Rigs event is free to enter but there is a small fee for truck rides, all proceeds going to the Teenage and Child Cancer fund.

4. City Of Palmerston North Gold Cup Festival

A weekend of festival fun for horse and greyhound racing enthusiasts and those just looking to join in the fun. Kicking off with a family fun night in the Square, the event includes an Easter Egg hunt, food trucks, big screen outdoor movie, face painting, bouncy castles and much more. The racing begins on the following day, with harness races and Greyhounds in the spotlight as well as more entertainment in the evening followed by more horse racing, live music and a fashion in the field show.

5. Pasifika Fusion

A Pacific Island festival aimed at Pasifika youth, the Pasifika Fusion event is held early July every year. Designed to allow our youth to embrace their cultural diversity and freely express themselves through a variety of art forms, including cinematography, dance, debate, drama, poetry, quiz, speeches, science, talent, visual and wearable arts. Presented in concert, tickets are available at the door. The event usually runs over a period of three days.

Need transport when in Palmerston North? USAVE Car Rentals have reliable affordable car hire for any occasion. Whether its economical hatchbacks, family sized sedans or large people movers you’re after – USAVE has the right car for you! Book online today.

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