Palmerston North

Palmerston North is a city in the Manawatu district of the lower North Island of New Zealand.


Art Deco building in the square

Palmerston North has a population of 80,000, is the seventh largest city in New Zealand and is the largest provincial city in the region. It's the home of the largest campuses of Massey University and the Universal College of Learning (UCOL) and also the International Pacific College (IPC), making Palmerston North a student-oriented city home to 18,000 students. It is also the home of the Linton Military Camp and has the Air Force Base, Ohakea, close by. The Adidas Institute of Rugby, based at Massey University, focuses on improving the skills of the All Blacks, the national rugby union team, though sightings of them there are rare.

Originally named Palmerston, the city was renamed Palmerston North in 1871 by the Post Office to distinguish it from the town of Palmerston in the South Island.

Visitor information

Information centre

Get in

Memorial Park

By air

Palmerston North Airport (IATA: PMR) is on the outskirts of the suburb of Milson and 5 km (3.1 mi) north-east of the CBD. The airport has scheduled domestic operations, charter flights and General Aviation. Road access to the airport is from either Airport Drive or McGregor Street.

Scheduled services

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Air New Zealand operated by Air Nelson Auckland, Christchurch Domestic
Air New Zealand operated by Eagle Airways Wellington, Hamilton Domestic
Air New Zealand operated by Mount Cook Airline Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton Domestic
Sunair Gisborne, Hamilton, Napier, Rotorua, Tauranga Domestic

Jetstar starts flights to Auckland on 1 Feb 2016.

Flights from Air Post, Air Freight, Massey University's School of Aviation, commuter airlines such as Air2there, Air National, Vincent Aviation and Rescue Fire Services use the airport. It is also used for training purposes by RNZAF squadrons based at the nearby Ohakea base.

New Zealand border services are provided at the airport including; NZ Customs Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry border management, Quarantine Transitional Facilities. The airport provides the normal NZ Aviation Security Service and has a Air New Zealand Koru Lounge in the terminal.

By road

Palmerston North is 7 hr by car from Auckland and 2 hr from the capital Wellington. The city is located on State Highway 3 (SH 3), with State Highways 56 and 57 passing close by.

By rail

Palmerston North is also on the main railway line between Auckland and Wellington

Get around

Palmerston North is built around The Square. Railway lines used to run through the Square, to the station, goods and shunting yards on Main Street west. This proved to be extremely impractical so the station was moved in 1964-66 and the site was subsequently turned into a park, known as the Railway Land. This explains why the roads radiating outwards from the Square are so wide because they used to accommodate the railway tracks. Most places are easily accessible by foot.


One of the advantages of Palmerston North is that it is compact, flat and easy to cycle around. The main educational institutions have cycle-lanes from the city centre. The main route to Massey University along Fitzherbert Avenue is packed with cyclists every morning.





Palmerston North has more eating out places per head of population than anywhere else in NZ.

  • Stage Door Cafe now also has a Mini cafe in the UCOL Atrium.



Go next

The central location of Palmerston North means that it is an easy 2-3 hr drive to the wineries of Martinborough and Hawkes Bay, the skifields of the Central Plateau and the Art Deco buildings of Napier.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, January 17, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.