Palmerston North

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Palmerston North. Photo: PhilipC

Palmerston North is a cosmopolitan city with a youthful population. Massey University’s original campus is located here and is attended by students from around the world. The city has a picturesque central square and beautiful gardens, with fountains, trees and lakes.

Te Manawa is the city’s highly acclaimed science centre, museum and art gallery. It brings together interactive exhibits, touring international shows, Maori treasures, Manawatu stories and history, science displays and art.

The New Zealand Rugby Museum has a treasure trove of rugby artefacts from around the world, including the whistle and the coin that are used to begin every Rugby World Cup opening and final match. Opened in 1969 this was the world’s first rugby football museum, and houses what is probably the largest collection of rugby relics and memorabilia in the world.

Fittingly it is located in the adult (1889-1933) hometown of Charles J Monro - the young 19yo Kiwi who introduced rugby to New Zealand in his birthtown of Nelson on 14 May 1870. In fact the three most significant first game Nelson Rugby FC teamates, Monro the coach, Tennent the NRFC founder and Alfred Drew, the NRFC Captain and first points scorer in NZ rugby, are all buried within 20 miles of each other around Palmerston North.

Gardens flourish in Palmerston North’s fertile soil. The Dugald McKenzie Rose Garden in the Victoria Esplanade Gardens comprises 96 rose beds and has been voted one of the world’s top five rose gardens. Other notable gardens here are the Pukemarama Garden, the Garden of Tranquillity at Palmerston North Hospital and Bloemendaal Garden.

Where to stay


What to do

  • Brush up on rugby history at the NZ Rugby Museum
  • Relax in the Victoria Espalanade Gardens
  • Mountain bike the Kahuterawa Loop
  • Admire the scenery in the Pohangina Valley
  • Visit Te Manawatu art gallery, science centre and museum

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Getting there

  • From Wellington by road: 145km
  • From New Plymouth: 234km
  • From Palmerston North: 178km
Piwa perched