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

People sitting at high tops in a brick brewery building.

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. 

A Day Guide to Victoria Esplanade, Palmerston North

Large palm trees on both sides of a road.
Palmerston North

If you only have a day to spend in Palmerston North, make sure you spend most of it at Victoria Esplanade.

Palmerston North: NZ's Underrated Coffee Capital

A man holding a red cup of coffee outside a coffee cart.
Palmerston North

Move over, Wellington - Palmerston North is quietly but confidently building its case as an alternative coffee capital.

Your Self-Guided Urban Arts Tour of Palmerston North

A sliver metal sculpture of a house frame on stilts.
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

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Palmerston North

Where to Shop for One of a Kind Pieces in Palmerston North.

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Cyclista Espresso Bar and Roastery

An outdoor dining area by the street in Palmerston North.
Place Palmerston North
Cafes key icon.

Get on your bike - this Palmerston North café is not one to be missed, whether you’re a keen cyclist, a coffee aficionado, or a bit of both.

Tony’s Pizza

A blue illustration on a wall inside Tony's Pizza in Palmerston North.
Place Palmerston North
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Pizza and craft beer - is there a more iconic duo? If you’re in Palmerston North, you can find both at Tony’s, a craft beer and pizza bar that brings a slice of...

Snail’s Artist Run Space

An artist's studio full of painted works of art.
Place Palmerston North
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If you’re seeking the creative heart of Palmerston North, just look for the snail.


The large cafe interior of Munch in Palmerston North.
Place Palmerston North
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Born out of owner Veronica James’ personal story, Munch in Palmerston North is a truly inclusive café where everyone is welcome, with an extensive and...

Georgie Girl

The retro entrance to Georgie Girl in Palmerston North.
Place Palmerston North
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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 busy nail and cocktail bar at Alchemy & I in Palmerston North.
Place Palmerston North
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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

The exterior view of Coffee on Ascot with two people sitting outside.
Place Palmerston North
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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

Place Palmerston North
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Orlando Store is only a hop, skip and jump from the edge of Palmerston North, overlooking the stunning Tararua ranges.

Te Āpiti Manawatū Gorge

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Place Palmerston North
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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.

He Ara Kotahi Bridge & Pathway

The He Ara Kotahi Bridge at night.
Place Palmerston North
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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.

Wildbase Recovery

A rescued morepork cuddling up in a blue towel.
Place Palmerston North
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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.

Square Edge

Bright colourful artworks hanging on the wall.
Place Palmerston North Editor's Pick

Square Edge is a complete celebration of Palmerston North's community and its people. Come experience this truly creative village for yourself.

LOCAL Café and Eatery

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Place Palmerston North
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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.

Brew Union Brewing Co

Customers sitting on bench seats.
Place Palmerston North Editor's Pick
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Longtime mates Murray and Jules spent years planning and designing exactly what they thought epitomised the perfect concept, and this shines through at Brew Union, Palmerston North’s downtown brew pub and eatery.

Feilding Farmers Market

Fruit for the kids.
Place Palmerston North
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Many of Manawatū's most talented, passionate and well-known growers, cheesemakers, artisans, bakers, herbalists, apiarists, florists and craftspeople have stalls at the Feilding Farmers Market making this market a celebration of all things fresh and local.

Bruce McKenzie Booksellers

A woman looking at a book.
Place Palmerston North Editor's Pick

Bruce McKenzie Booksellers is a Palmerston North business with serious staying power. The shop opened over 20 years ago on George Street. Today, Bruce and his daughter Louisa run the shop, at the same location, with a small staff of knowledgeable booksellers.