Palmerston North, locally called Palmerston, lies in the North Island of New Zealand, situated in the Manawatu District. It is the seventh largest city in New Zealand, and the largest provincial city in the region. It was once a clearing in a forest that was occupied by small communities of indigenous Māori, and called it Papaioea, which means “How beautiful it is.” True to the adage, present-day city boasts of well-known institutions and camp bases on a predominantly flat land, located in the eastern Manawatu Plains. This suggests an urban living in a rural setup. Get into Palmerston North International Airport, which is lying on the outskirts 5km north east of the Central Business District to see “how beautiful it is” to be in this humble town.
Palmerston North is home to the largest campuses in New Zealand there is, such as the Massey University, Universal College of Learning (UCOL), and the International Pacific College (IPC). This makes Palmerston North a student-oriented city, and presumably one of the reasons why a number of people wants to study in New Zealand. It also has the award-winning City Library located in The Square, which features a wide array of books and dissertations. To experience an interactive learning experience, visit the Te Manawa, which combines a museum, art gallery, and interactive science centre, that tickles the senses and nourishes the imagination. For sports enthusiasts, stepping into the New Zealand Rugby Museum is a surreal experience. Here, the biggest and most comprehensive collection of rugby memorabilia and records can be found. Group tours are also feasible and can be arranged beforehand.
Palmerston North’s compact area makes it easy to cycle around, with bicycle lanes extending to approximately 65km on-road bicycle lane network. A DIY Guided Bike Tours can be availed for tourists who want to experience the local city life tour, with a fully supplied audio guide commentary. Go solo if you want to discover places on your own. Try cycling around and getting lost in The Esplanade, a big beautiful garden filled with conservatory walks, picnic groves, aviary area, kid’s playground, paddling pool, free electric barbecues, plus a scenic railway. The Victoria House, Palmerston’s original post office can also be found here. For big groups who wants to have fun on their own, or a family group who just want to spend quality time together, the Lido Aquatic Centre is the best place to be. Its outdoor facilities include a family leisure pool, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a dive pool, while indoor facilities include another family leisure pool, spa pool, heated pool, and a café. The indoor paintball and go karts is also another activity to try out.
For food lovers with a voracious appetite, Palmerston North is also your place to be. The city is reputed to have the highest concentration of restaurants, eateries, and café bars per capita in New Zealand. Vast ethnic food options include American cuisines, Asian cuisines such as Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Cambodian, Mongolian, and European Cuisines such as French, Italian, Irish, and New Zealand cuisines.
Also, the city’s inland location makes it easier to traverse to neighbouring cities, approximately two to three hour drive to Martinborough and Hawkes Bay wineries, Whakapapa and Turoa’s (collectively called Central Plateau) Skifields, and Napier’s Art Deco buildings.
How to get around within Palmerston North
To get around Palmerston North, services are coordinated by Horizons Regional Council through Tranzit, a Masterton-based bus company. About five buses depart the terminal in Main Street East, with daily services going to nearby towns of Linton, Ashhurst, and Feilding. Inter-regional routes going to Wellington in the south, to Auckland in the North and to Masterton in the East are also being operated by Intercity, Tranzit, and Naked Bus.
How to get there
To reach Palmerston North, fly via Air New Zealand, which lands at Palmerston North International Airport. Air New Zealand serves destinations such as Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton, Gisborne, Napier, Rotorua, and Tauranga.
The airport is also being serviced by Air Post, Air Freight, Massey University’s School of Aviation, Commuter Airlines such as Air2there, Air National, Vincent Aviation, and Rescue Fire Services.