Located near the Manawatu River, Palmerston North was linked to Wellington by rail in the 1880s and early industry was based on timber and agriculture. The Linton Military Camp and University have contributed to Palmerston North's character and individuality.
The Ngati Rangitane Maori have occupied the Manawatu-Whanganui are a for about seven centuries. The first recorded European explored the area in 1830, and eventually, in 1866, a settlement was planned there. Early settlers were of Scandinavian descent, and roadbuilding and timber milling were the major industries at this time. By 1930, Palmerston North was declared a city and the Regent on Broadway theatre was built in the same year. In the centre of the city is a 7 Ha park known as The Square which is part of the original clearing of land for the founding town. It contains the Clock Tower, standing at over 30 m in height, and a glorious sight when lit up at night. The War Memorial is also in the Square as is the Te Peeti Te AweAwe Memorial built in 1907. This memorial is for the Rangitane chief, a Government ally during the Taranaki Maori Wars. There is also the last remaining Hitching Post, a reminder of the time of horse transport.
Take the kids to see the Takahe at Pukeha Mt Bruce. The Takahe were once considered extinct, so it is amazing to be able to see these beautiful birds in the flesh. See the Kaka play, meet the prehistoric Tuatara and learn about the animals as you watch their feedings. Endangered and rare bird populations are bred for release, and these birds may be seen in the aviary here. Eels are another kiwi river resident and there are ponds full of eels at Pukeha. The Morepork Owl is the featured bird at Owlcatraz, a wildlife park, where you can also see Weka, farm animals and eels. There is also glow-worm in the Wairuru Caves for you to enjoy. Kune-kune pigs and Jerusalem Donkeys, Alpacas and Fallow Deer all can be visited on the farm walk. Kids love a visit to Flip City, where they can wear out their spare energy on the trampolines.
The Manawatu Gorge is a crevasse between the Tararua and Ruahine Ranges with the Manawatu River running through the ravine. A walking track shows beautiful views of the gorge and along the track can be found a 20m metal statue of Whatonga, a Maori chief on one of the first waka (boats) to come to New Zealand. The road through the Gorge was closed indefinitely in 2017 after consistent slips onto the road. Visit the Raumai Reserve for great swimming in the Pohangina River, with its stone beaches and towering cliffs. For a lovely green, shady walk in the native forest, with exotic ferns, wander up Beehive Creek and paddle in this gentle creek and enjoy the native birds that are so abundant in the area. What about trying a surf at Himatangi Beach, with its huge sand dunes, or try catching fish for dinner. The local fish and chip shop is handy if you don't catch a meal.
Palmerston North is home to a museum focused on the national sport- Rugby. The champion All Blacks are known in sporting circles worldwide, and this museum is devoted to their memorabilia and artefacts related to the game. In 1892 the NZRFU formed, and the following year the national uniform of black with a silver fern was adopted. See the oldest jerseys, and oldest rugby balls, as well as recent souvenirs. Get the chance to 'have go' yourself! If you are interested in early transport, visit the Coach-house Museum, and see plenty of horse-drawn vehicles, early farm implements and hear the stories of agriculture in the early days. The story of dairy farming and the first milk powder production is covered in detail, and the development of the John Deere is another feature. The Te Manawa Museum displays about 55,000 items, protecting the history of the area, supporting the culture of the people and promoting scientific learning and advances into the future. A novel place to visit is the Woodville Organ Museum, and displaying a collection of old reed organs.
Check out the agricultural industry that has made the Manawatu area successful through recent years, Visit the most current technology with a Robotic Dairy Farm where cows come to the shed themselves when they are ready and enjoy a complimentary glass of fresh milk. Various tours offer differing depths of exploration of the dairy activities. Take a tour of the Feilding Saleyards to see another aspect of the farming world, as animals are bought and sold to fulfil farmers requirements. Stay the night on Rangitikei Farmstay to get another dimension to agriculture, on this large sheep and beef farm. With 300 beef cattle and 3000 sheep. A shearing demonstration is just one activity you can enjoy here. Another type of farm is the Wind Farm, which generates enough power to run 15,000 homes. A Herb Farm is also open for visitors to enjoy the natural products and skincare that are produced from the plants grown in the gardens here.
Tahake Mt Bruce Adult $20 Child $6Pukeha Mt Bruce entry fee
New Zealand Ruby Museum Adult $12.50 Child $5
Coach House Museum Adult $12. Child $6
Te Manawa Museum FOC
Woodville Organ Museum Donations appreciated
Pukeha Mt Bruce Adult $20 Child $6
Owlcatraz Adult $20-$40 Child $10
Flip City Adult $16 under 110cm $10
Robotic Dairy Farm Adult $10-$40 Child FOC
Rangitikei Farmstay Adult from$40 Child from $10
*Please note: Prices listed here are for reference only and it might change without notice. We recommend you call or visit the attraction's website for current pricing
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