10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day
10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day

11 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day

© ManawatuNZ.co.nz

All-weather and Indoor Activities in Palmerston North

Caught on a rainy day in Palmerston North? No worries! Some of the city’s top attractions are, indeed, indoors so you can enjoy them whatever the weather. Museums, shopping malls, restaurants and even a native wildlife hospital grace the city centre, giving travellers plenty to do when passing through. You can even take it further with Palmerston North’s indoor go-karting track, exciting aquatic centre, or one of the indulgent day spas. Check out some of the best all-weather activities with this list of things to do in Palmerston North on a rainy day.

1. Check Out the Exhibitions at Te Manawa

It’s a rainy day in the city so, of course, you must do an obligatory museum visit! Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and Heritage, located near the city centre, is a free museum with a range of exhibitions. Learn about the journey of the Manawatu River that flows through the city, see native wildlife like weta or native fish, admire Maori taonga (treasure), and the list goes on! You can also check out the latest temporary exhibitions.

Location: 326 Main Street, approximately 600m (650 yards) from Palmerston North city centre (The Square).

10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day© ManawatuNZ.co.nz

2. Visit the New Zealand Rugby Museum

Whether you’re a rugby fan or are simply interested in learning why New Zealanders are so passionate about the sport, visiting the New Zealand Rugby Museum is a must! Located in the same building as Te Manawa (see point #1), the Rugby Museum showcases hundreds of rugby union artefacts, from the first pig-bladder rugby balls to modern-day rugby video games. The museum is well-presented and has some interactive rugby challenges to, quite literally, tackle in the centre of the exhibit. There is a small admission fee for this museum.

Location: 326 Main Street, approximately 600m (650 yards) from Palmerston North city centre (The Square).

10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day© NZPocketGuide.com

3. See the Birds at Wildbase Recovery

Victoria Esplanade might be one of the city attractions best enjoyed in good weather, but Wildbase Recovery is the park’s all-weather activity. Wildbase Recovery is a hospital for New Zealand’s native birds and reptiles, which is free to visit. See which patients they have in, whether its a kakariki, tuatara, blue duck, kereru, kaka or something else. Check out more activities like this in the 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Palmerston North.

Location: At Victoria Esplanade, access is off Park Road, Manawaroa Street or Fitzherbert Avenue, approximately 3km  (2 miles) from Palmerston North city centre (The Square).

10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Get Competitive at the Daytona Indoor Raceway

If you’re travelling as a group, experience some fun and friendly competition at Daytona Indoor Raceway. It’s an activity for the whole family, with karts for various age ranges, including Junior Kadet Karts for ages seven to 10, Intermediate karts for ages 11 to 14 and adult karts. Join in for a casual race, racing whoever else happens to be there, or you can book the entire track for your group. Check out more activities like this in the 10 Things to Do in Palmerston North with Kids.

Location: 23D Bennett Street, Cloverlea, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Palmerston North city centre (The Square).

10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Have a Splash or Relax in a Spa Pool at the Lido Aquatic Centre

A local favourite in Palmerston North is the Lido Aquatic Centre. This indoor and outdoor aquatic centre has something for all moods. Relax in the large spa pool, sauna and steam room or go nuts on the indoor and outdoor waterpark features like hydroslides, water cannons, a lazy river and more. The centre is ideal for travellers of all ages.

Location: Park Road, West End, approximately 2km (1 mile) from Palmerston North city centre (The Square).

10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Take a Tour of a Coffee Roastery

Learn about and experience New Zealand’s coffee culture with one of the tours and workshops at Arrosta Coffee. Located in the heart of Palmerston North, Arrosta Coffee is a coffee roaster and supplier with a cafe and hands-on workshops. If you’re a bit of a foodie, take their one-hour Roastery Tour to learn about the process from green bean to a cup of everyone’s favourite morning kick. Arrosta Coffee also offers a Coffee Education & Cupping Workshop, which is something similar to a wine tasting experience but with coffee, as well as a Barista Workshop to learn how to get the best from your home coffee machine. See more experiences like this in the 7 Things to Do in Palmerston North for Foodies.

Location: 42 Victoria Avenue, Palmerston North city centre.

10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day© ManawatuNZ.co.nz

7. Indulge in a Spa Day

Nothing feels better after some lengthy drives around New Zealand than a spa treatment. Enjoy some downtime at one of the city’s day spas, the most premium of which is the day spa at the Hiwinui Country Estate. The spa offers an extensive menu, including facials, massages, body treatments, hand and foot care, as well as men’s and couple’s treatments. All of these can be enjoyed in treatment rooms which open up onto a deck with commanding rural views. Other spas in Palmerston North include Pania Ryan Beauty Retreat, Bella Vita Day Spa, Juno Beauty Day Spa and Skin Therapy Day Spa. See more experiences like this in the 6 Luxury Activities in Palmerston North.

Location: Hiwinui Country Estate – 465 Ashhurst Road, 12km (7 miles) from Palmerston North. Pania Ryan Beauty Retreat – 50 Grey Street. Bella Vita Day Spa – 508 Ferguson Street. Juno Beauty Day Spa – 194 Ruapehu Drive, 5km (3 miles) from Palmerston North. Skin Therapy Day Spa – 625 Main Street.

10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day© Pixabay

8. Do Some Shopping

Palmerston North is, after all, a hub of the lower North Island. With that, it’s a top destination for some retail therapy offering a large shopping mall, as well as an array of boutique stores. The Plaza is an indoor mall with around 100 stores in the city centre, while more shops can be found on Broadway Avenue running alongside The Square. Don’t miss George Street and Coleman Mall, which is where you’ll find the city centre’s boutique scene. Not too far from Broadway Avenue is Downtown, a smaller mall with a cinema, shops and restaurants.

Location: Palmerston North city centre.

10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day© ManawatuNZ.co.nz

9. Relax with a Movie, Wine and/or Cafe Treats at the Focal Point Cinema & Cafe

Of course, going to the cinema is an obvious way to stay out of the rain for a couple of hours, but the Focal Point Cinema & Cafe offers something a little more special. Cosy up in plush lounge chairs with new and classic blockbusters shown in this boutique cinema and cafe. Indulge in a coffee and cake or treat yourself to something from their wine bar. It could also be a good idea for date night, as featured in the 7 Romantic Activities in Palmerston North for Couples.

Location: Focal Point Cinema Palmerston North – 223 Cuba Street, Palmerston North city centre. Focal Point Cinema Feilding – 81 Manchester Street, approximately 19km (12 miles) from Palmerston North city centre.

10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day© Pixabay

10. Have a Bite to Eat at Palmerston North’s Restaurants and Cafes

And, if all else fails, you can always wait out the rain in one of Palmy’s cafes or restaurants. For instance, stay in theme with Palmerston North’s surrounding farms at The Fat Farmer which provides locally-sourced New Zealand cuisine in a vintage-style setting. Or experience Palmerston North’s cafe scene at Cyclista Espresso Bar & Roastery with cycle-themed decor and in-house roasted coffee. Wholegrain Organics is an interesting experience; a cafe that also provides education food programs for Palmerston North’s youth. Or how about choosing from the eclectic range of hearty Kiwi cuisine and in-house craft beer at Brew Union? Check out honourable mentions and links to more restaurant recommendations in The Foodie Guide to Palmerston North.

Location: The Fat Farmer – 360 Albert Street. Cyclista Espresso Bar & Roastery – 54 George Street. Wholegrain Organics – 134 The Square. Brew Union – 41 Broadway and 78 King Street.

10 Things to Do in Palmerston North on a Rainy Day© ManawatuNZ.co.nz

11. Watch New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year

If all else fails, you can always get some inspiration for your next epic New Zealand activity by watching New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year on YouTube. Watch as the team behind NZ Pocket Guide take on 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand! Make sure to subscribe.

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