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Palmerston North City Guide

Whether Palmerston North is your intended destination or just a brief stopover on the way to your new home, we have compiled this guide to help you get your bearings on arrival. To obtain more details about the city check out the websites listed at the end of this profile.


The population of this small city is 80,000 (2010 estimate).


Palmerston North is located approximately 2 hours drive from New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington (140Km). It is 35Km from the Manawatu River mouth and 12Km from the end of the Manawatu Gorge. The city as a whole covers 350 square kilometres.


The climate in Palmerston North is quite mild compared to other cities in New Zealand. Generally the city experiences less rain and has warmer temperatures .


The economy of Palmerston North is well established and steady with the establishment of Massey University and the Fonterra Research Centre (formerly the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute). Recently local research centres joined together to work on collaborative projects under Food Innovation NZ -  Because of this strengthening economy over the past few years there is a low unemployment rate. There is also a strong agricultural industry that heavily impacts on the economy of the city as much of the research and development is based in the city through education providers like Massey University.  

Palmerston North city has strengths as a transport gateway with excellent roading and facility infrastructure.  Palmerston North is also home to Bio Commerce Centre - This is a business incubator for businesses with export potential.  Palmerston North is home to New Zealand's land operational defense bases - RNZAF Base Ohakea and Linton Army Camp - over 5,000 military families.  Palmerston North City recently won a national award at the Green Ribbon awards for the activities at Awapuni Sustainable Development Centre - the former landfill site, which is now a resources recovery centre. 

Dining Out

Connoisseurs of fine food, a good espresso or a great nightlife will find themselves spoilt for choice from the tasty smorgasbord of restaurants, cafes and bars. Endless options are available to suit any palate and price range, from casual dining in a cafe? to silver service options. Just take a stroll through the central city and let your taste buds guide you. Being home to over 100 ethnicities, the dining options are fantastic in Palmerston North, from 'cheap and cheerful' Asian noodle cafes to fine dining.

Local Transport

Students and staff of the two major learnig institutes, Massey University and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) can enjoy free public transport on the City’s buses. Palmerston North Airport is a short drive from the City Centre and operates mainly domestic flights.

Performing Arts

The calibre and central locations of the city's many venues ensure that Palmerston North hosts a number of national, international and special shows and events annually. Each October to March the city roars to life with the popular Stockcar season, including World Championship races, while February hosts the family Esplanade Open Day, an extravaganza of stalls, entertainment, displays and music all set in the beautiful Victoria Esplanade Gardens. March brings the annual International Festival, a colourful celebration of the ethnic diversity embraced by the people and city of Palmerston North.

One professional and two amateur live theatre companies, New Zealand's most successful multiplex cinema, and the $12 million complete refurbishment of the city's magnificent 'Regent on Broadway' make Palmerston North a popular destination for enthusiasts of the screen and stage.

Lifestyle and Outdoor Recreation

Being situated on the banks of the Manawatu River and the gateway to the Manawatu Ranges and National Park areas, there can be little complaint about nothing to do. The rivers are perfect for white water rafting being graded at 2-5 so depending on your skill level you can participate on a leisurely cruise or an adrenaline pumping experience down a river. Also with plentiful amounts of rural and open areas there are opportunities for horse riding, golf and fishing. You can go jet boating through Manawatu Gorge, see giant wind turbines up close at Te Apiti windfarm, go quad biking up the mountain range...

The NZ Rugby Museum will be a world-class attraction following its move to Te Manawa.  The opening is in April 2011.  See and 

The Country Road featuring over 100 scenic highlights between the State Highways is a major attraction for visitors and locals to discover.

Feilding is New Zealand's Most Beautiful Town (14 times winner, although not current) and home to an authentic visitor experience - Feilding Saleyards Tours....


Palmerston North is known for its student life that is provided by Massey University; the University has campuses nationally and offers large selection of extramural options if you prefer to study independently. Massey University is one of New Zealand’s largest tertiary education providers and operates a campus in Palmerston North that is well known for the agricultural fields that it offers. Palmerston North boasts an above average percentile in the area of education for those who continue on, which make the city one of the most educated cities in New Zealand.

On the Net

Palmerston North City Council

Destination Manawatu


The average temperatures in Palmerston North are 22 Degrees Celsius in summer and 12 Degrees Celsius in winter. Precipitation is approximately 960 mm per annum.


Palmerston North time is GMT +12 Hours. From September to March one hour of daylight saving time applies




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