Palmerston North has a population of 80,000, 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 Institute of the Pacific United (IPU), making Palmerston North a student-oriented city home to 18,000 students. It is also the home of the Linton Military Camp and has the Air Force 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.
Originally named Palmerston, the city was renamed Palmerston North in 1871 by the Post Office to distinguish it from the town of Palmerston in the South Island.
- Visitor Information Center, The Square, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 1 Palmerston North Airport (PMR IATA) (on the outskirts of the suburb of Milson and 5 km (3.1 mi) north-east of the CBD). The airport has scheduled domestic operations, charter flights and general aviation. Road access to the airport is from either Airport Drive or McGregor Street. Air New Zealand Link operate flights from Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton and Wellington.
- From Auckland, follow State Highway 1 south to Sanson, then follow State Highway 3. You'll approach the city from the north.
- From Napier and Hastings, follow State Highway 2 south to Woodville, then follow State Highway 3. You'll approach the city from the east.
- From Wellington, follow State Highway 1 north, turning off onto State Highway 57 just south of Levin. North of Shannon, you have two options - continue following State Highway 57 to approach the city from the south, or turn off onto State Highway 56 to approach it from the west.
- Intercity offers the cheapest land transport option into Palmerston North with fares starting at $1 if you book early enough.
- Northern Explorer, several days a week. See the article on rail travel in New Zealand for more detail.
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 in 1964-66 and the site was turned into a park, known as the Railway Land. 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.
Horizons Regional Council has local bus timetables.
One of the advantages of Palmerston North is that it is compact, flat and 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.
- Massey University.
- Universal College of Learning.
- 1 Te Manawa, 396 Main St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-5PM 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.
- 2 New Zealand Rugby Museum, 326 Main St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 10:00-17:00. Tour and rugby groups by arrangement. Contains NZ's biggest and most comprehensive collection of rugby memorabilia and records. Adult $5, child $2.
- Central Library, 4 The Square, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo, Tu, Fr 09:30-18:00; We 10:00-18:00, Th 09:30-20:00, Sa 10:00-16:00, Su 13:00-16:00. 'New' award-winning Central Library in the old DIC department store building.
- 3 David Warnock Medical Museum (Palmerston North Hospital, near Gate 5, Heretaunga Street). 1st and 3rd Friday of each month 2pm- 4:30pm. Museum showing medical instruments and equipment Gold coin donation.
- Centrepoint Theatre, Pitt & Church St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Performances on Tu at 6.30PM, W-Sa 8PM, no performance M. Stages a wide variety of plays. Has a fully-licenced bar plus coffees and desserts.
- 1 Lido Aquatic Centre, Park Rd (alongside the Palmerston North Holiday Park and the Esplanade), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Indoor facility open M-Th 6AM-8PM, F 6AM-9PM. Public holidays and weekends 8AM-8PM. Outdoor facilities open during the summer months M-F 6AM-7PM, weekends and public holidays 8AM-8PM. Covers an area of 1.62 hectares with indoor and outdoor pools, spa pool, toddlers' pool, a diving tower and two hydroslides. Adult $5, child $4.
- 2 Regent on Broadway, 63 Broadway Ave, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Stages many plays. Stunningly refurbished.
- Ruahine AFC, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Palmerston North's best youth football games.
- Victoria Esplanade. Open from dawn to dusk. The Education Centre and conservatory is open weekdays 10AM-4PM and weekends 12PM-4PM. 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 BBQs and a scenic railway. Victoria House, a historic building (the original Palmerston North's post office) is situated in the grounds.
- DIY Guided Bike Tours. Bike while enjoying a fully supplied audio guide commentary
- Indoor paintball and go karts, 23 Bennett St, ☏ (paintball), (go karts), ✉ email@example.com. Fun whatever the weather.
- 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.
- Downtown Complex, 42-60 Broadway Avenue, ☏ . Stores Mo-Fr 09:00–17:30, Sa 09:30-16:00, Su 10:00-16:00; Cinema daily 10:00-23:00. Incorporating Event Cinemas (8 screens)
- 1 The Plaza, 84 The Square (cnr Church Street, parking off Ferguson Street), ☏ . Mo-We & Sa 09:00-17:30, Th 09:00-21:00, Fr 09:00-19:00, Su 10:00-17:00 (individual stores may vary). 90+ stores, including anchors Countdown, Kmart, Farmers and JB Hi-Fi.
Palmerston North has more eating out places per head of population than anywhere else in NZ.
- Barista, 59 George St, ☏ . 8am-late. Innovative and interesting casual dining. Best coffee in town.
- 1 Breakers Cafe & Bar, 168-190 Rangitikei St, ☏ . Daily 11:00 to late. Small NZ chain of 9 restaurants across the North Island. $15-$34.
- Downtown Centre Foodcourt. Wide selection.
- Eon Cafe, 737 Main St (in the Modena Building), ☏ . 7-4PM. Sandwiches and other snacks.
- Kruo Thai, Square Edge Courtyard, ☏ . Thai.
- 2 Lone Star Restaurant, 36 The Square, ☏ . Mo-Th 17:30 to late; Fr-Su 17:00 to late. Tex-Mex restaurant well known for its large meals. $25-$38.
- Monsoon Asian Kitchen, 200 The Square (opposite the Library), ☏ . Asian. Small. Tasty food.
- Mr India Tandoori Restaurant, 79E George St, ☏ . Pakistani
- Pompeii's, 355 Ferguson St, ☏ . Italian. Go for the pizza.
- Restaurant De Coree, 94 Fitzherbert Avenue, ☏ . Serves delicious Korean meals.
- The Stage Door Cafe, King St (Behind the Regent Theatre right next to the stage door), ☏ . Coffee, great food, and retro furniture. Very popular with students from UCOL.
- Stage Door Cafe now also has a Mini cafe in the UCOL Atrium.
- Thai House Restaurant, 88 Fitzherbert Ave, ☏ . Good authentic food.
- 3 Yatai Japanese Izakaya Restaurant, 316 Featherston St (cnr Pirie Street), ☏ . Tue-Sa 18:00-late. Warm and welcoming. Great Japanese food and drink.
- Zumak Sushi Bar, 406 Main St, ☏ . Japanese and Korean cuisine. $1 off all meals over $10 on Tuesdays.
- Rose and Crown Olde English Pub, 743 Main St, ☏ .
- The Brewers Apprentice- Monteiths Bar, 334 Church St, ☏ . Stylish and respectable.
- 1 Pavilion Motel, 262 Fitzherbert Ave (cnr Manawaroa St), ☏ , toll-free: 0800 728 454. 17 modern units including studio and 1-bedroom units. All with microwaves and a kitchenette, and 2-bedroom apartments with full kitchens. Most units have spa baths. $115-$185.
- 2 Avenue Motel, 116 Fitzherbert Ave, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 116 333. On a quiet back section. Private spa pools, and free wifi. $120-$180.
- 3 Hotel Coachman, 140 Fitzherbert Ave, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 262 246. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 10:00. 72 hotel & motel rooms with SkydigitalTV, mini bar. Some studio motel rooms have cooking facilities. Pool, gymnasium and a sauna. Has a bar and facilities suitable for weddings and functions. 24 hr reception&room service, guest laundry. Incorporates La Patio Cafe restaurant. $99-$400.
- Railway Hotel Backpackers, 275 Main St, ☏ . from $33.
From centrally located Palmerston North it's an easy 2-3 hr drive to the wineries of Martinborough and Hawke's Bay, the skifields of the Central Plateau and the Art Deco buildings of Napier.
- Dannevirke and Hawke's Bay with its wineries
- Feilding – nearby to the north
- Shannon – nearby to the south-west
- Masterton and on to the Martinborough wineries in the Wairarapa
- Central North Island - Whakapapa and Turoa skifields, and on to Taupo