Discover the neatest places to eat, drink, shop and more in Palmerston North.
This central North Island town has been shaped by and named for mighty river catchments: the Manawatū. Along their banks, you’ll discover native wildlife, vibrant towns, and plenty of kindhearted locals, all of which are deeply connected to the region’s stunning landscape and iconic waterways.
Palmerston North, the region’s biggest city, is home to Massey University and FoodHQ, both of which focus on supporting the science and business of food. They’re linked to the city and the Manawatū river via beautiful cycle trails and walking paths. Go for an adventure on the He Ara Kotahi bridge and walkway before finding yourself back in the heart of downtown ‘Palmy’ for a memorable meal.
Palmerston North's colourful array of cafés and restaurants have built their menus and their success with ingredients sourced from the surrounding landscape. Award-winning beef and lamb, cheese, honey, beer, and wine are all made right here. A trip to any of the region’s farmers markets is a chance to discover, all at once, the true variety of produce that’s grown in the mighty Manawatū. The focus on food here is undeniable and makes it one of the most unique foodie destinations in the country.
While the region’s rivers have supported life along the shores for generations, their raw and unforgiving power takes a different shape at places like the Manawatū gorge. Here, you’ll see first-hand how these ancient channels have shaped the land, carving out rock and stone without a second thought. The resulting microclimates are home to some of New Zealand’s most impressive native flora and fauna — go for a hike or a bike and keep your eyes peeled. For a more personal experience, visit Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery where injured native species get world-class care and shelter. You might catch a Morepork taking a snooze, a blue duck searching for a snack, a Tuatara sunbathing in a quiet corner, or a Kea showing off their bright plumage.
The colours and textures found in the Manawatū are nothing short of inspiring and the local sculptors, painters, and creatives draw inspiration from this at every turn. Palmerston North, for one, has public art installations on almost every corner and rural galleries provide chance-upon spots for art enthusiasts and curious types alike. Whatever you’re searching for, be it an adventure, a food tour, an art experience or some combination thereof, can be found in Palmerston North.
12 Hours Palmerston North
Toss any preconceptions you might have, there is A LOT to do in Palmerston North. If you like food, drink, art, shopping, and friendly people, you’ve come to the right place.
Your Self-Guided Urban Arts Tour of Palmerston North
Palmerston North is a city that continues to surprise us with its abundance of neat cafés, shops and galleries, so it’s no great revelation that it’s also home to an active arts scene.
Where to Shop for One of a Kind Pieces in Palmerston North
Where to Shop for One of a Kind Pieces in Palmerston North.
Best Walks in Palmerston North and Where to Treat Yourself Afterwards
Six of the best walks in Palmerston North and places to visit for treats afterwards.
Dine your Way Around Palmerston North
When it comes to New Zealand’s foodie destinations, Wellington is almost always top of mind. But just above Wellington, you’ll find Palmerston North situated in the heartland where many of our most prized ingredients originate.
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Nestled in the heart of George Street for over a decade, Georgie Girl is a boutique womenswear store selling preloved designer and vintage clothing.
Alchemy and I
The last few years have been a dream come true for Haylee Benton, who has long dreamed of taking ordinary hair and beauty experiences and making them extraordinary.
Coffee on Ascot
Coffee on Ascot is a warm and welcoming neighbourhood cafe offering organic, fair-trade coffee and home baked snacks, raw slices and healthy treats.
Orlando Store is only a hop, skip and jump from the edge of Palmerston North, overlooking the stunning Tararua ranges.
Hōm Interiors + Inspiration
In 2021, Nichola Waugh threw open the doors of Hōm to the public for the very first time.
Te Āpiti Manawatū Gorge
For a breathtaking outdoor adventure, simply pop “State Highway Three - Manawatū Gorge” into your map app and complete the quick 20 minute drive from downtown Palmerston North. Nestled between mountains and carved by geological forces over the last three million years, Te Āpiti is a natural time capsule.
Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital is a place where you can observe New Zealand’s unique native species and learn more about the hard work that goes into looking after them.
He Ara Kotahi Bridge & Pathway
Get some fresh air at He Ara Kotahi bridge and walkway. The name means ‘a pathway that brings people together’, but you’ll find that this outdoor space does much more than that.
Nero, a family-owned modern bistro, has made a name for themselves in Palmerston North over the last twenty years with consistently great food and service.
Arrosta Coffee Roasting Co
At Arrosta Coffee you will find a welcoming espresso bar and functional roastery plus a cupping and training lab - it’s a complete coffee destination.
Located on (you guessed it) Cuba Street, Café Cuba is one of Palmerston’s most popular and long standing cafés and eateries. There’s something for everyone here and the cabinet alone is enough to entice even the most conscientious eaters.
LOCAL Café and Eatery
LOCAL Café and Eatery truly lives up to its name. After several years of successful trading, the spot has earned a solid regular following who love the café’s colourful plates, locally sourced ingredients, homemade baked goods, coffees and tipples.
BABCO - Brick Artisan Bread Company
BABCO, which stands for Brick Artisan Bread Company, was started by husband and wife duo Alice and Jeremy. The Palmerston North pair created BABCO from scratch in every sense of the phrase - it all started with a bread baking experiment in their backyard pizza oven.
Ginger Bird is a countryside café with a big heart, excellent service, homemade treats and barista coffee. The café is housed within two shipping containers, but you’d never guess once inside as the wide windows, light timber and warm lighting give the space a cosy, homey feel.
The Fat Farmer
The Fat Farmer is a neighbourhood bistro that’s elegant and extremely well furnished but still manages to feel like your mate’s place.
Square Edge is a complete celebration of Palmerston North's community and its people. Come experience this truly creative village for yourself.
Be Free Grocer
Plastic / package free grocery shopping is the way of the future. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. At Be Free Grocer, however, it is. Owner Bron and her friendly staff are 100% committed to sourcing the lowest impact groceries around, and they do it with a lot of joy.
Head to Saigon Corner on Princess Street for a taste of Vietnam. This local spot’s modern Vietnamese cuisine has earned excellence on TripAdvisor for over three years straight, and it doesn’t take long to figure out why.