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Cheap Car Hire Palmerston North Airport
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A rental car gives you the freedom and flexibility to make the most of your time exploring Palmerston North and surrounding areas. Here are a few of the many attractions around Manawatu you might like to consider checking out. The letters on the map match those on the tabs below, where you'll find information about each attraction. For more ideas, check out the Palmerston North & Manawatu Tourism website.
New Zealand Rugby Museum
Rugby is our national sport and the sole subject of the New Zealand Rugby Museum in central Palmerston North. Here, the heritage and folklore of the game take centre stage, along with the stories of some of the sport’s greatest heroes.
The museum houses more than 40,000 pieces of rugby memorabilia, from coins and whistles to the very first All Black jersey and oldest rugby ball. The treasured First XV represents 15 of the most significant rugby mementoes on earth.
The legendary boot of Don Clarke, still caked with dirt from Lancaster Park - is on display here, dating back to his epic matches against the Springboks. A cap from the early ‘Native’ tour to Great Britain is one of only four in existence, as most were buried with their Maori owners. A ball from the All Blacks’ tour of California, promoting the sport, is signed by by the team, who dominated the American side in San Francisco. A stuffed kiwi and its wooden travel case was once the mascot of the ‘Invincibles’ All Blacks team on their tour of France and Great Britain.
There are four different zones inside the rugby museum. Rugby Relics is a decade by decade historical record of the sport in New Zealand, outlining how it has shaped the nation and continues to do so. The Discovery Library is a meditative place for researchers to delve into archives, or material from individual collections. Rugby Tribes is a dynamic area devoted to the diversity of customs and cultures that surround rugby. And the Have a Go section is an interactive place where you can test your ball skills with game based challenges - leaping, kicking and tackling, and seeing how you stack up against some of history’s greatest players.
Recently upgraded for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the museum is a place to experience sporting culture in all its glory - the first national rugby museum in the world and recognised as an important institution and resource.
Set between the Tararua and Ruahine mountain ranges, the Manawatu Gorge, aka Te Apiti, is an incredibly rich place in both a geographical and cultural sense. Here you get a sense of what the Manawatu region once looked like, covered in lush native bush and humming with wildlife.
Starting just 15 minutes from central Palmerston North, the southern side of the Manawatu Gorge is dense with forest, while reserves at both ends of the gorge belie pleasant camping and swimming spots. There are several walking and hiking tracks through the area crossing streams and leading to viewing platforms.
The main gorge track stretches for 10 km, towering high above the gorge and river. Five viewing points perched atop the ridgeline offer amazing vistas across the greenery and out to the wind farms of the Manawatu. For a shorter undertaking, the Tawa loop offers all the same beauty. Starting at the Ashhurst end of the gorge this walk branches out to the southern end of the reserve before rejoining the main gorge track. At this intersection you’ll see the distinctive Whatonga sculpture. It then returns to its starting point. Or if you’ve only got half an hour or less to spare, try the short gorge loop track. It starts at the eastern end of the Manawatu Gorge over the Ballance Bridge, and takes in a huge and ancient totara tree thought to be more than 1000 years old.
A pair of mountain biking trails offer an adrenaline rush - the 41 km Windfarm track climbs through the Ruahine ranges, while the 2 km Te Ara o Mahurangi trail is a downhill ride through the bush.
You can choose to explore the Manawatu Gorge on horse back. Short treks journey through waterways and farmland, or multi day treks offer an immersive and intrepid experience.
An unforgettable way to see the Manawatu Gorge is by travelling down the Manawatu River. Try kayaking or jet boating for a thrilling ride.
Mokai Canyon and Rangitikei River
Jump in your rental car and head straight for the Mokai Canyon (approximately an hour and a half from Palmerston North) if you’re after thrilling adventures at altitude. The Mokai Gravity Canyon is a unique activity operating over the Rangitikei River in the heart of the gully.
In this adventure playground you can jump off the highest bridge bungy in the country (80 metres), free fall into the gorge (a 50 metre dive) or ride the 1.1 km flying fox, which can reach speeds as high as 160 km per hour.
Further up along the Rangitikei River you can go white water rafting. This particular stretch of the river is considered one of the top grade 5 rafting trips - not just in New Zealand but in the world. This is some of the best technically challenging water you’ll find anywhere. Day trips, over night trips and multi day trips are all options.
The River Valley Lodge in Taihape caters specially to adventure seekers. You can tackle the Mokai Gravity Canyon, bunk down at the lodge for the night, and then head out white water rafting the following day.
For a lighter version of white water thrills, canoeing past the flats, viaducts, camp sites and under the rope swing and bungy is a great way to experience the Rangitikei River and the exceptional scenery of the Mokai Canyon. Stopping at different points you will be able to walk to waterfalls, native bush and even the Rangitikei Boulders - mysterious round rocks peppered among the forest, not unlike the spherical Moeraki Boulders in the South Island. Depending on the length of the trip, departure points are from various locations progressively further down the river.
Te Manawa is tasked with preserving the heritage of the Manawatu region. It is home to many treasured collections of sacred Maori artifacts, and New Zealand art and history - both natural and social. It is divided into three key sections: Life (the museum), Art (the gallery) and Mind (science), which display a host of revolving local and international exhibits; entry to the first two is free. It is the only regional museum in the country to blend art, science and history in this way. The museum, art gallery and science centre were combined in 2000.
Te Manawa’s storehouse encompasses around 55,000 items in total. The science area spans some 300 educational and interactive exhibits, exploring everything from communication and electricity to colour, time and biology. It is constantly being added to and expanded. There are wildlife displays with frogs, fish, insects and glow worms too.
The Te Manawa art gallery centres around modern New Zealand art from the second half of the 20th century on, including painting, photography, prints, sculptures, ceramics and installations. The 1970s decade is especially well represented here. Te Manawa focuses on supporting and putting the spotlight on emerging artists, especially Maori and Polynesian artists or works that have ties to the Manawatu region.
With so much to keep visitors young and old alike occupied, you could easily while away several hours at Te Manawa. Te Manawa is located in central Palmerston North, close to our rental depot - between the Globe Theatre and the Palmerston North Convention Centre. Within the Te Manawa courtyard also lie the dual historic buildings of Totaranui Settlers Cottage and Awahou South Schoolhouse.
When you’re in this part of the country it would be remiss to skip visiting the famous Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka. The Tui brand - known for its tongue in cheek ‘Yeah Right’ marketing campaigns - is a major player in the beer market today.
The Tui brewery first opened in Mangatainoka in 1889. As it expanded, a brewing tower was built in 1931 so that gravity could be harnessed to transform malt into beer. While it is no longer used for this specific purpose, the tower remains a registered historic place.
At Tui HQ you will find a veritable shrine to the brand. Take a look around the museum (entry is free). At the merchandise shop you can pick up more Tui paraphernalia than you could ever have dreamed of. There is even a cultivated Tui ‘national park’ surrounding the complex with native flora and fauna.
There is lots to see inside the Tui Brewery and plenty of photo opportunities galore. Learn about the Tui brand and how its beers are brewed on a brewery tour. Tours are at 11 am and 2 pm daily, and bookings are essential These include three beers and a Tui glass to take home. They run for about half an hour. Covered shoes are required in terms of footwear. Linger in the bar, which opens out to a garden area complete with native tui birds.
Another Tui brewery option is a basic tasting, held at 10 am and 4 pm daily. Again, three beers are included, plus a glass to take away.
At the end of it all you may have worked up an appetite! Fortunately, the onsite Kiwiana cafe at Tui HQ offers a varied menu and can cater to large groups as well with a backyard BBQ lunch or dinner.
Mangatainoka is just half an hour from Palmerston North - an easy drive in your rental car.
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Great for backpackers like us on a tight budget. Got to do more of the amazing things NZ offers with the money we saved. Awesome!
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