Palmerston North City & Manawatu




The Manawatu Region is bordered by the Tararua and Ruahine mountain ranges, spectacularly divided by the Manawatu Gorge. Much of the landscape is a coastal plain and flat, however north of Palmerston North City is an ever changing world of dramatic, steep hill country bounded by rivers, sea and ranges with big skies that constantly change. The diverse landscape has a pastoral farming heritage that has let to the City, and its university, Massey, to develop a science and research base in agri-foods and food innovation.

The name ‘Manawatu’ is derived from two words, Manawa and tu. Manawa refers to the heart – tu describes something that has come to a halt. The ancestor Hau uttered the words “ka tu taku manawa” meaning ‘my heart stands still’ at the sight of the awesome Manawatu River.

Palmerston North City in Manawatu is at the cross roads of your lower North Island journey. It’s a 2-3 hour drive from Napier, Wellington, Taupo and New Plymouth.  All roads lead to The Square in Palmerston North City - a beautiful inner city park and
social hub sprinkled with public art and surrounded by boutique shops and cafes. At its centre is a clock tower and the City’s i-SITE (visitor information centre).

Residents of Palmerston North City and Manawatu enjoy the rich arts and theatre scene, short driving distances, and having everything they could need or want within close distance. Even the ski fields are only two hour’s drive away. Sports facilities and clubs are plentiful.

A short and scenic 20km drive from Palmerston North City is the township of Feilding - a thriving rural town with one of the largest saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere, a beautiful CBD, a popular equestrian and motorsport venue, boutique shopping and a large number of heritage collections.

Palmerston North City and Feilding are located off State Highway 1 - the main route in the North Island that connects Auckland and Wellington.  As such, there a series of between the highways touring routes called, The Country Road.  How often have you driven on a state highway and only been focused on getting to your destination, or as you're driving you've hoped that there's something interesting to see and do nearby, but assumed there isn't because of the never ending stretch of flat farmland passing by.

The Country Road, Manawatu, takes you off the main highways, away from heavy traffic, and through diverse landscapes. Driving The Country Road is equivalent to driving the 'back roads' but with purpose. With map in hand you can telephone ahead to organise a devonshire tea, pop in to see a boutique mill, and know exactly which lane to take to get to the most spectacular viewing point for 50km.

Stay Connected

There is free wifi available in the CBD of Palmerston North City, Feilding and Kimobolton and other areas, so when you visit, check for access. Simply register and immediately receive 100 megabytes of free Internet use per month.

On your Smart Phone and iPhone

Many people like to make their own travel plans and explore a place in a way that suits them. This includes going to the heart of a city or region and getting out of the car and having a look around. There is one iPhone app available for Palmerston North City & Manawatu and it is like a virtual tour guide, with suggested trails featuring public art and historic sites.  For smart phone users, check out Everytrail.  On there are a growing number of free trails available online and as a free download to your smart phone.  They include the four touring routes of The Country Road - Pohangina Valley, Iron Gates Experience, Peep-O-Day and Stormy Point, as well as  the Manawatu Cycleway on The Country Road.

Visitor Information

Throughout New Zealand there is a network of visitor information centres called, i-SITEs. These are Tourism New Zealand endorsed centres that provide free and impartial advice to locals and travelers about current events and what there is to see and do nearby.  In the case of i-SITE Palmerston North there is free daytime parking directly outside (including for campervans). You just need to see one of the staff members to request a parking permit. Other facilities include free water, showers, baby changing rooms, and public toilets.

What's Different about Driving in New Zealand?

To ensure a safe trip, ensure you know what to expect on New Zealand's roads, and make yourself familiar with our road rules.  Check out this handy guide on New Zealand Transport Agency's website.

Accessing Medical Services in Palmerston North

If you require health care during your stay, please refer to the following to find the most suitable option:

General Practitioner Services

City Health 22 Victoria Avenue, Palmerston North  T:  +64 6 355 3300  Open 8am-10pm every day.  Services include GP, pharmacy and x-ray.

Radius Medical, the Palms 445 Fergusson Street, Palmerston North  T:  +64 6 354 7737  Open 8am-7pm Monday to Friday and 9am-6pm on weekends and public holidays.  Services include GP, accident and medical, x-ray, dentist and pharmacy.

Emergency Services

Emergency Department Palmerston North Public Hospital, 50 Ruahine Street, Palmerston North  T:  +64 6 356 9169  Open 24 hours per day.  All services available.