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Palmerston North

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Palmerston North

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Palmerston North [3] is in the lower North Island of New Zealand. It is situated in the Manawatu district.


Palmerston North has a population of approx. 75,000, is the seventh largest city in New Zealand and is the largest provincial city in the region. It's the home of the largest campuses of Massey University and the Universal College of Learning (UCOL) and also the International Pacific College (IPC), making Palmerston North a student oriented city currently home to around 18,000 students. It is also the home of the Linton Military Camp and has the RNZ Airforce Base, Ohakea, close by. The Adidas Institute of Rugby, based at Massey University focuses on improving the skills of the All Blacks the national rugby union team, though sightings of them there are rare.

For some reason Palmerston North is the butt of many jokes throughout New Zealand - mainly associated with the perception that it is constantly windy! The 160 odd electricity generating windmills probably add to this perception. Palmerston North has great facilities, and offers an affordable lifestyle. It's a nice place to bring up kids.

Get in

Palmerston North is 7 hours by car from Auckland and two hours from the capital Wellington on State Highway 1 (SH1).

Palmerston North Airport handles mainly domestic but also some international travel.

It is also on the main railway line between Auckland and Wellington. There is a daily service - The Overlander.

Naked Bus offers the cheapest land transport option into Palmerston North with fares starting at $1 if you book early enough.

Get around

One of the advantages of Palmerston North is that it is compact and flat (easy to cycle around). The main educational institutions have cycle lanes from the city centre. The main route to Massey University along Fitzherbert Avenue is packed with cyclists every morning.

Palmerston North is built around The Square. Railway lines used to run through the Square, to the station, goods and shunting yards on Main Street west. This proved to be extremely impractical so the station was moved (1964-66) and the site turned into a park, known as the Railway Land. This explains why the roads radiating outwards from the Square are so wide because they used to accommodate the railway tracks. Most places are easily accessible by foot.

The Visitor Information Center is in The Square, phone +64 6 350 1922 , fax +64 6 350 1929 , email [email protected]


  • Massey University, [4].
  • Universal College of Learning, [5].
  • Te Manawa, Address 396 Main Street , phone number +64 6 355-5000 (email [email protected], fax +64 6 358-3552), [6]. Open 10AM-5PM daily including weekends and public holidays (except Christmas Day). Combines a museum, art gallery and interactive science center, to create a fusion of life, art and mind. Free admission to LIFE and ART galleries. MIND galleries: $6 Adult, $4 Child, $15 Family.
  • New Zealand Rugby Museum, Address 87 Cuba Street , phone number +64 6 358 6947 (email [email protected], fax +64 6 358 6947), [7]. Open M-Sa 10AM-12 noon & 1.30PM-4PM. Su 1.30PM-4PM. Tour and Rugby Groups by arrangement. Contains NZ's biggest and most comprehensive collection of rugby memorabilia and records. Adults $4, Children $1.
  • City Library, 4 The Square , phone number +64 6 351 4100 (email [email protected] , fax +64 6 351 4102), [8]. M,Tu,Thu 10AM-6PM, W,F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1PM-4PM. 'New' award-winning Central Library.


  • Centrepoint Theater, Address cnr. Pitt and Church Streets , phone number +64 6 354 5740 (email [email protected] , fax +64 6 354-5743), [9]. Performances on Tu at 6.30PM, W-Sa 8.00PM, no performance M. Stages a wide variety of plays. Has a fully-licensed bar plus coffees and desserts.
  • Regent on Broadway, Address 63 Broadway Ave, phone number +64 6 350 2100 (email [email protected], fax +64 6 350 2108), [10]. Stages many plays, stunningly refurbished.
  • The Esplanade, beautiful gardens (including a stunning rose garden), conservatory, walks, strolls along the Manawatu River, picnics, an aviary, playground for the kids , paddling pool, free electric BBQ's and a scenic railway. Victoria House, a historic building (the original Palmerston North's post office) is situated in the grounds. Open from dawn to dusk. The Education Center and conservatory is open weekdays 10AM-4PM and weekends 12PM-4PM.
  • Lido Aquatic Center, Address Park Rd (alongside the Palmerston North Holiday Park and the Esplanade), phone number +64 6 357 2684 (email [email protected]), [11]. Indoor facility open M-Th 6.00AM-8.00PM,F 6.00AM-9.00PM Public holidays and weekends 8AM-8PM. Outdoor facilities open during the Summer months M-F 6.00AM-7.00PM Weekends and public holidays 8AM-8PM. Covers an area of 1.62 hectares with indoor and outdoor pools, spa pool, toddler's pool, a diving tower and two hydroslides. Adults $2.50 Child $1.50.
  • DIY Guided Bike Tours, bike while enjoying a fully supplied Audio Guide commentary
  • Indoor paintball and go karts, Address 23 Bennett Street, phone number paintball +64 6 353 5092 go karts +64 6 353 5082 (email [email protected], go kart fax +64 6 353 5084), [12]. Fun whatever the weather.
  • Cinema Gold boutique movie theatre. Address Downtown complex, ph +64 6 353 1902 (email [email protected]), [13].
  • Manawatu Gorge walking track, Enjoy the beauty and diversity of the New Zealand bush, and views of the spectacular gorge along the way.


  • Check out the specialist boutiques along George Street.
  • Try the malls at the Downtown Complex in Broadway Avenue (with its 8 cinema multiplex) and The Plaza.


Palmerston North has more eating out places per head of population than anywhere else in NZ.

  • The Stage Door Cafe, King Street, +64 6 359 2233.behind the Regent Theatre (right next to the stage door).. famous for it's coffee. Great food, and retro furniture. Very popular with students from UCOL. Stage Door serves Organico coffee, New Zealand's only truly organic and fair trade blend. [14]Stage Door Cafe now boasts a mini cafe in the UCOL Atrium.
  • Kruo Thai, Square Edge Courtyard, + 64 6 355 1222. Thai.
  • Monsoon Asian Kitchen, 200 The Square (opposite the Library), +64 6 359 2919. Asian. Small but tasty.
  • Valentines, 223 Featherston Street, +64 6 359 0444. One of a chain of eat-as-much-as-you-can buffet restaurants. Caters for kids.
  • Wide selection at the Downtown Centre Foodcourt.
  • Mr India Tandoori Restaurant, 79E George Street, +64 6 354 5075. Pakistani
  • Pompeii's 355 Ferguson Street +64 6 359 0059. Italian. Go for the pizza.
  • Congo Burgers & Pasta, 164 Albert Street, +64 6 357 6040. Gourmet burgers and these are LARGE. You didn't taste a burger until you have tried these.
  • Barista 77 George Street +64 6 3572614, [15]. Innovative and interesting casual dining.
  • Subway, 69 The Square (below The Fisherman's Table), 357 6017.
  • Mao Bar,76 George Street +64 6 3548410,[16] Coffee and casual dining.
  • Yatai Japanese Izakaya Restaurant, 316 Featherston Street, 06 356 1316. Warm and welcoming. Great Japanese food and drink.
  • Lone Star Restaurant, 36 The Square, +64 6 355 1986. Lovely Food, good value, friendly staff.
  • Thai House Restaurant, 88 Fitzherbert Ave, +64 6 357 0883. Good authentic food.
  • Zumak Sushi Bar, 406 Main Street, +64 6 353 5441. Small selection of the best of Japanese and Korean cuisine. My pick is the bi bim bap. $1 off all meals over $10 on Tuesdays.
  • Spostato Restaurant, 213a Cuba Street, +64 6 952 3400, [1]. from 6pm. Romantic Award-Winning Dining


  • Rose and Crown Olde English Pub, 743 Main Street, +64 6 355 3660.
  • Bar Mode, 1 Coleman Place , [17]. Live Music Venue
  • The Brewers Apprentice- Monteiths Bar, 334 Church Street, 06 358 8888, [18]. Stylish and respectable.
  • Breakers Cafe & Bar168-190 Rangitakei Street, Palmerston North,06 952 7700 [19]


  • Rydges Palmerston North, 140 Fitzherbert Avenue, ph 1300 857 922. Located only moments from the city centre and five minutes drive from Massey University, this hotel is close to many cultural and sporting activities. Situated on the banks of the Manawatu River, Palmerston North is only a 2 hr drive from the nation's Capital, Wellington. Rydges Hotels and Resorts is an Austrailian owned and operated company.
  • Pavilion Motel, Cnr Fitzherbert Av & Manawaroa St, +64 6 357 1131, [2]. There are 17 modern units including studio and 1-bedroom units, Mitex treated mattresses. All with microwaves and a kitchenette, and 2-bedroom apartments with full kitchens. Most units have spa baths.

Get out

The central location of Palmerston North means that it is an easy two to three hour drive to the wineries of Martinborough and Hawkes Bay, the skifields of the Central Plateau (Whakapapa and Turoa) and the Art Deco of Napier.

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