Palmerston North

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.

A building surrounded by blossoms.