Palmerston North Tourist Attractions
Palmerston North (pop. 71,000) - named after the 19th C. British statesman Lord Palmerston - lies some 150km northeast of Wellington, on the Manawatu River. The 'North' distinguishes it from another Palmerston near Christchurch on the South Island.Originally a loggers' settlement, the town is now an important traffic hub and the commercial center of a region of pastoral farming, with large creameries and frozen-meat plants.Palmerston North is important also as the seat of Massey University, a national center of veterinary medicine, nutritional science and biotechnology, and other leading agricultural research and experimental institutions. Among them are the Grassland Research Centre, the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute, the Palmerston North Seed Testing Station and the Awahuri Artificial Breeding Centre.
The hub of the town's life is the Square, originally a large open space of almost 7 ha, which in earlier days was traversed by the railroad but is now a park, with fountains, and the site of the modern Civic Centre.
The site of the former municipal offices is now occupied by a craft center (showroom, sales).
Te Manawatu is a museum of history, art and science. The museum offers collections of Taonga Maori, New Zealand contemporary art, social history and natural history.
Address: 326 Main Street, New Zealand
Opening hours: 10am-5pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: There is a charge for the MIND gallery.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Restaurant or food service
New Zealand Rugby Museum
The Rugby Museum is devoted to New Zealand's national sport.The museum features a comprehensive collection of rugby memorabilia and records, as well as some of the world's rarest rugby artefacts.
From Monro Hill, named after a British immigrant who settled here in 1870 and founded the country's first rugby club, there is a view of the spacious campus of Massey University.
ANZAC Park Viewpoint
From this viewpoint at the end of Cliff Road, on the southern outskirts of the town, there is a fine panorama of the town. In good visibility the volcanoes Taranaki and Ruapehu can be seen in the distance.
There are a number of interesting towns and attractions in the Palmerston North surrounding areas.
Ruahine Forest Park
Northeast of Palmerston North is Ruahine Forest Park (936 sq.km), a nature reserve famed for its wildness. The park has many species of flora and fauna that are rare elsewhere in New Zealand. At the end of the few roads running into the forest there are mountain huts and rest areas, from which trails leading into the wilderness. The best route to the park from Palmerston North is via Ashhurst and the Pohangina Valley. Information is available from the Department of Conservation offices in Palmerston North and Wanganui.
16km east of Palmerston North on the road to Woodville is the entrance to this wild gorge, carved out by the Manawatu River between the Ruahine Range to the north and the Tararua Range to the south. It is a favorite location for jet-boat enthusiasts and experienced white-water canoeists.
20km northwest of Palmerston North is Feilding (pop. 13,500), founded in the 1870s as a 'special settlement' on land acquired by the Emigrants' and Colonists' Aid Corporation and divided into smallholdings for immigrants without the money to buy land. The site was found by William Feilding, after who the town is named. The first 250 settlers came here in 1874, cleared the forest and established farms and in due course a meat factory was built. In addition to stock farming (sheep, cattle) fruit and vegetables are now also grown. In spite of its nearness to Palmerston North Feilding has preserved its own character. There are a number of late 19th C. buildings.
Dannevirke (pop. 6,000), a town founded by Scandinavian immigrants in 1872, lies on the eastern slopes of the Ruahine Range, 60km northeast of Palmerston North and 100km southwest of Hastings.
The Domain Park is an attractive open space with its mature trees, enclosures for game and aviaries.
20km north of Dannevirke is the village of Norsewood (pop. 330), which also originated as a Scandinavian loggers' settlement. In 1888 it was destroyed by fire. There is a pioneer museum in Upper Norsewood. Later the Norsewear textile factory was established here.
Seven Star Abbey
West of Norsewood is Seven Star Abbey, a Cistercian monastery.
These romantic falls lie in primeval forest 40km southeast of Dannevirke on the road to Waipatiki and Horoeka.