Self Drive Palmerston North | Avis Car Rental

Palmerston North Self Drive Holiday

Tucked beside the Manawatu River and beneath the Tararua mountain range, Palmerston North is a city that serves as a thriving heart for agriculture and education. Palmy, as the locals say, is a fantastic place to start a journey from, located two hours from Wellington and two hours from the volcanic playground of the Central Plateau. But don't be leaving too quickly, the main city of the Manawatu region offers a relaxing small city pace with all the big city comforts of art, culture, food and fun.





Te Manawa

Te Manawa is a museum where science, art and heritage meet. They hold an important collection of New Zealand contemporary art, a wide range of Maori treasures -or "taonga" - and also boast a stunning new aquarium. The museum tells local stories like that of the Manawatu River and presents contemporary exhibitions designed to capture the imagination of the whole family.

Te Manawa Website


Manawatu Gardens

Manawatu is lucky to have a string of wonderful gardens. Your first visit should be to the Victoria Esplanade Gardens. Home to the International Rose Trial Grounds they have over 5500 varieties of rose on site. There is also a duck pond and a miniature railway. You also must see the Cross Hills Gardens in Kimbolto. There you'll find one of the world's best collections of over 2000 varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas. And this is a great place to visit year round - many perennials are planted too. Head to the Palmerston North i-site to pick up the Manawatu Gardens leaflet, complete with all driving instructions and other tips.

Tourism NZ Website


New Zealand Rugby Museum

Palmerston North is home to the world's oldest rugby museum that has been recently renovated thanks to the Rugby World Cup. The museum is run by a society of volunteers and enthusiasts and has a collection of more than 30,000 pieces of memorabilia. Learn about the origins of the game here and overseas, with a special focus on great All Black teams and players. The museum is now housed at Te Manawa in its own wing.

Rugby Museum Website


Dinner at Barista Restaurant

The Manawatu has some of New Zealand's best farming land. Be sure to visit a local restaurant for the freshest and best produce. Barista is a particular favourite for locals and visitors and offers authentic, unpretentious cuisine. Just off the square in George St, there is plenty of parking nearby.

Barista Website



Palmy Farmer's Markets

The Palmy Farmers' Market has some strict rules: vendors may only sell what they have grown, pickled, farmed, preserved, smoked, caught or baked themselves, and it must be from the local area. You can be confident you are getting only the freshest produce, preserves and picnic essentials. The Palmy Farmers' Market, held on Sundays from 9am-1pm, is located in Coleman Pl, in the centre of Palmerston North.



New Zealand has a native owl, the Ruru, commonly known as the Morepork. It is famous for its distinctive call that sounds a little like its name in both Maori and English. You can visit many owls at Owlcatraz, which while not a jail, does in fact also have the old Shannon regional jail restored and on-site. This idiosyncratic park has manmade caves, a Millennium Bridge, a newly constructed lake and a selection of owls with punning names. Head along to meet Owlvis Presley and Owliva Newton John and all their friends. It is a 30 minute drive from the city centre out to Shannon.



Tui Brewery

Half an hour down the Napier Road and then south down State Highway 2 there is a particularly New Zealand icon: the Tui Brewery. The tower has been made famous through cheeky blokey advertising campaigns that have put Mangatainoka on the map. The brewery tour takes you through the history of the beer, how it's made and culminates in a beer tasting where you get to keep the glass. Try their Kiwiana café, where you can eat well before getting back on the road.

Tui Website




Less than half an hour north is a town that is so pretty that it has been named New Zealand's Most Beautiful Town 14 times. Head up to take in the lovely heritage buildings, gardens and grand old homes. There is very good coffee available and the cafes are perfect to lunch at. A selection of curious museums await you - vintage motorcycles, rail and farm equipment are all represented. One lovely point for all drivers is that there are no traffic lights and no parking meters. Fielding is 20 kilometres north on State Highway 54.



There are many great treks in the region. The Manawatu Gorge walk is a 3-5 hour one-way excursion suitable for the keener and fitter walker, but to really get a feel for the spiritual and cultural importance of the region a trip with Hikoi Tours is recommended. Here local Maori take tours into ancestral land on the Rangitikei River. They explain the importance and history of the region, traditions and inform about native flora and fauna. Hikoi is Maori for "a walk with a purpose" - and that is exactly what you will find here.

Hikoi Treks Website



With a large student population and as a centre serving many farmers and rural workers, events become an important part of bringing the city together. There are a series of annual festivals that you would be lucky to catch, especially the Festival of Cultures, Manawatu Wine and Food or Pacifika Fusion. Keep an eye out at the local i-site and join in the community atmosphere.



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