The Best Day Trips from Palmerston North©
The Best Day Trips from Palmerston North

The Best Day Trips from Palmerston North šŸš— [2024]

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Article Single Pages©
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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 Day Tours from Palmerston North

Before we get into the self-drive day trips from Palmerston North, check out this (extremely) quick list of day tours from Palmerston North.

Due to the city not being a tourism hub, Palmerston North offers very few day tours for sightseeing and exploring the greater Manawatu region. Nevertheless, we’ve still managed to conjure a couple so you can still explore Palmerston North without needing your own vehicle.

Guided Day Tours from Palmerston North

  • Fishing trips with Altitude Fly Fishing
  • Kayaking trips with the Ruahine White Water Club.

The Best Day Trips from Palmerston North©

Pohangina Valley

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 trip stops, check out the 14 Best Things to Do in the Pohangina Valley.

The Best Day Trips from Palmerston North©


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.

The Best Day Trips from Palmerston North©

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 Trips from Palmerston North©


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 Trips from Palmerston North© Nick Wall - Tourism New Zealand


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, Tripadvisor and Klook). 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.

More About Palmerston North Day Trips

That’s it for the best day trips from Palmerston North. For more day trips, you might like to hit the following destinations:


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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