Palmerston North is on the banks of the Manawatu River and has a population of around 85,000, making it the main city in the Manawatu-Wanganui region. “Palmy” is home to Massey University, New Zealand’s second largest, and has a sizable student population, giving it a youthful energy and cultural life.
The heart of Palmerston North is The Square, a 7ha park at the centre of town that includes a war memorial and clock tower. The streets leading into and surrounding The Square are concentrated with restaurants, bars, bookstores, shops, boutiques and theatres. Other attractions in town are the Rugby Museum and Te Manawa, a unique facility that combines a history museum, art gallery and interactive science centre.
Palmerston North is not a major tourist attraction, but it does offer an opportunity to meet and mingle with a big university crowd when school’s in session, and can make for an interesting stopover.