The Esplanade Scenic Railway is a must-do for those visiting Victoria Esplanade, young and old. Board the miniature locomotive at either the new station located near the Park Road entrance or at the children’s playground and travel 2.2km through native bush and the beautiful park grounds. Run by volunteers, the railway has been operating since 1969 and holds a number of special events throughout the year. It is a must do for locals and visitors to the region.
Palmy's junior road safety park is always a popular spot for kids to ride their bikes or scooter, Complete with a roundabout, stop signs and traffic lights. It is a fun way for kids to learn about roads and road safety while having fun. It has proved popular since it opened in 2017, the park also provides seating for parents to supervise their little ones and a bike tire pumping station so they can get right back into action! The park has been built to look and feel like the streets of Palmy.
The newest addition to the park is the Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery which provides world-class care for native wildlife patients to recover after treatment at Wildbase Hospital before being released back into the wild. With resident animals always available for all to see, visitor hosts will show you around the rehabilitation, breeding and walk-through aviaries. Entry is free and Their trained visitor hosts can't wait to show your around! Check out this awesome map of the center here.
Manawatu’s largest playground is located in the heart of Victoria Esplanade, with a separate junior playground designed for under-fives. Featuring a mouse wheel, basket swing, flying fox, whisper dishes, a rocktopus, in-ground trampolines and forts with large slides – this is the place to play!
Stop and smell the roses at the expansive Dugald McKenzie Rose Garden. Opened in 1968, today the gardens boast more than 5000 roses planted in named beds. Take a stroll and breathe in the fragrance from the 100+ varieties which are in full bloom from October through to April. This is also a popular spot for wedding ceremonies, photography, gatherings and events such as the annual Esplanade Open Day where thousands gather to enjoy the wonderful setting.
Stroll the 3.5km of walkways, exploring 11 hectares of native bush. Pop out to the shared Manawatū River Pathway which stretches for 10km along the Manawatū River, 3km of this is through Victoria Esplanade. With scenic river views and relaxing bush walks. The pathway has plenty of different access points to choose from, a perfect way to unwind from the day or if you're a morning person a perfect way to get started for the day. The pathway is dog friendly and dogs are welcome to be off leash between everywhere except between Fitzherbert bridge and He Ara Kotahi Kotahi bridge and along the He Ara Kotahi pathway to Linton.
There is a variety of people and animals that share this pathway so remember to be kind and look out for one another.
This Art Deco style paddling pool was gifted to the city’s children by the Returned Services Association in the late 1930s, and is a popular spot to cool down on a sunny day. With an under-the-sea mural backdrop and nearby bird aviaries, free BBQ facilities and picnic tables, this is a great spot for a family outing.
The park’s cafe, Cafe Esplanade, is located in the centre of Victoria Esplanade. Housed in ‘Victoria House’ which is a former Palmerston North post office, relocated to today’s site in 1989. Stop in for tasty treats, ice cream and drinks.
The Peter Black Conservatory was constructed in 1941 and houses a wide range of tropical and subtropical plants. With goldfish ponds and a ‘find the frogs’ activity for kids, meander through the single largest collection of orchids.