Surrounded by the mountain ranges of New Zealand’s North Island, this city is known for its rose gardens and live music scene. It’s also popular with cyclists.
Smell the roses in botanical gardens, discover Maori treasures and modern New Zealand art, see a band and explore Palmerston North’s many bikeways. Start your exploration of the city in downtown, in The Square. Browse boutiques and galleries housed in buildings from the 1920s and 1930s and enjoy the gardens, fountains and modernist 1950s clock tower.
A short walk away is the New Zealand Rugby Museum where you can learn about the joys and sorrows of the country’s rugby history. For another cultural experience, catch a modern theatrical production at Centrepoint Theatre or the Regent Performing Art Centre.
Learn about the Maori people’s 700-year-long history in the area and discover their crafts and culture at the Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History.
Wander through the formal gardens by the Manawatu River at the Victoria Esplanade Gardens, which has over 5,000 species of roses. New species are trialled at the Dugald Mackenzie Rose Garden. The cottage gardens and woodlands at the 19th-century Greenhaugh Colonial Homestead are the perfect place for a picnic.
Enjoy the great outdoors on the Manawatu Cycleway, which passes through forests, country towns and plains all the way to Mangaweka. The Tararua ranges provide a scenic backdrop to the city and are popular with mountain bikers. Hike through rainforest, take a jet boat ride or kayak river tour, or jump on a vintage steam train east of the city at Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve.
Relax in the evenings at one of the country-style pubs or bars in the centre of Palmerston North. Enjoy some live music while tasting a locally brewed ale and black Angus steak, sourced from cattle in this fertile region.
Buses run daily to and from Palmerston North to Wellington, which is just a two-hour drive to the southwest, and to Hawkes Bay, located two hours’ drive to the northeast.