The Top Places to Visit Near Palmerston North
A bustling hub for farming communities and students, Palmerston North is more than just a city but an excellent base for exploring four different North Island regions. Escape to the beaches of the Kapiti Coast, get off the beaten track to the Ruahine Ranges, and visit the surrounding rural towns. Discover your next road trip with this list of day trips from Palmerston North.
For more day trip-planning wisdom, head to The Complete Guide to Palmerston North.
Top 3 Day Tours from Palmerston North
Before we get into the self-drive day trips from Palmerston North, check out this quick list of day tours from Palmerston North. That way, you can still explore Palmerston North without needing your own vehicle.
Guided Day Tours from Palmerston North
- Wairarapa wine region tours with Pathfinder Tours
- Fishing trips with Altitude Fly Fishing
- Kayaking trips with the Ruahine White Water Club.
The Best Day Trip from Palmerston North for Foodies
Travel time by car: 45 minutes to 1h10mins one-way
Travel up the Pohangina Valley to visit gorgeous gardens, do bird watching, go horse riding and explore many walking trails. The Totara Reserve is a major highlight of the valley, while the Limestone Creek Glow Worm Caves are a real hidden gem. Don’t forget to book yourself for a cheese tasting at the Cartwheel Creamery. We recommend travelling all the way to Apiti then returning via Kimbolton.
For more road trips stops, check out the 14 Best Things to Do in the Pohangina Valley.
The Best Day Trip from Palmerston North for Luxury Travellers
Travel time by car: 1 hour one-way
Travel by car or by bus (more info in the Public Transport in Palmerston North) to Palmy’s neighbouring city, Whanganui. This city at the end of the Whanganui River offers its own unique attractions like the Durie Hill tunnel, historic elevator and tower. Hop on a historic paddle steamer for a boat trip on the river or culture yourself at the city’s art galleries, glass studios and the Whanganui Regional Museum.
Plan more of your day trip from Palmerston North using the 10 Best Things to Do in Whanganui.
Ruahine Forest Park
The Best Day Trip from Palmerston North for Budget Travellers
Travel time by car: 45 minutes to 2 hours one-way
Escape the city for the wilderness of the Ruahine Forest Park. Some of the closest hiking trails to Palmerston North are at the end of Coppermine Road, taking you through lush forest and up to the tops of the southern Ruahine Ranges. A popular alternative is the Sunrise Hut Track offering stunning views across the Hawke’s Bay region.
Find out more about hiking trails in the Ruahine Forest Park on the Department of Conservation website.
The Best Day Trip from Palmerston North for Families
Travel time by car: 35 minutes one-way
Spend a day at the beach, either at Foxton Beach or the Neighbouring Himatangi Beach. Foxton has a few additional attractions to offer to make more of a day of it, like kite sports lessons with Wind Warrior and wakeboarding at Off the Loop Wake Park. Check out Foxton’s windmill in the town centre and treat yourself to some fish and chips from Mr Grumpy’s.
Head to the 5 Fun Things to Do in Foxton for more activities on this day trip from Palmerston North.
The Best Day Trip from Palmerston North for Couples
Travel time by car: 1h15mins one-way
Hit the road to the Kapiti Coast for a day of beach fun, vintage cars or island exploration. Join one of the tours to the bird sanctuary of Kapiti Island (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). There’s also the Southward Car Museum with its impressive collection of vehicles. Or, simply enjoy a day at Paraparaumu Beach.
Plan more of your day trip using the 8 Excellent Things to Do in Paraparaumu.