Manawatu Travel Guide

The Manawatu on the North Island is sometimes called a “heartland” region, and its Country Road, agricultural history and laidback charm should suit visitors who are after an authentic, “off-the-beaten path” experience.

The student city of Palmerston North is the cultural heart of the region. The pride of Palmerston North is sometimes said to be the Dugald Mackenzie Rose Garden. The gardens are broken into three sections. The facility has been operating since 1968, is located on Victoria Esplanade, and its lavish displays of 5,000-plus roses make it a world-class venue.

Palmerston North also includes Te Manawa, a museum of science, art and history, adjacent to New Zealand’s first rugby museum.

The New Zealand Rugby Museum examines the history of the game so important to New Zealand, and examines the influence rugby has has on the country and vice versa. It is open seven days a week. Palmerston North also has some excellent restaurants on and around Fitzherbert Avenue. 

The town of Fielding includes the Fielding Saleyard, with guided tours on Friday. The saleyard provides an insight into livestock vending, which dates back to 1880 in NZ, and booking ahead (through the Fielding and District Information Centre) is essential for those wanting a tour on Fridays at 11 am.

Another unique piece of Fielding and Manawatu is the Mansfield Autocourse, built in 1973 and hosting motorsport and other events, including the local Fireworks Spectacular and Central Districts Field Days.

To explore the heartland off the major highways, take the Country Road. Routes such as the Iron Gates Experience will see you forget all about traffic and learn about unique local parts including the Ruahine Ranges, separating Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay.

The Manawatu Wine and Food Festival has been running for the last few years in June, and is a must-see for those in the region at the time.

Manawatu has a temperate climate. Palmerston North has maximum and minimum average temperatures for January of 22.4 and 13.4 degrees Celsius, and 12.6 and 4.7 for July.

Palmerston North International Airport, served by Air New Zealand.