Palmerston North is a pleasant medium-sized city with a predominantly rural economy in the Manawatu region of south/central North Island of New Zealand. Population about 73,000. The city has a large university, meaning a young population and more cultural events than one would expect for the city's size. New Zealand's main army and air force bases are also nearby.
The surrounding landscape is mainly farming on the Manawatu Plains. To the north the plains become steep hill country around the Rangitikei River, and climb up to the central plateau, where snow-covered Mount Ruapehu can be seen on the northern horizon, about 2.5 hours' drive from Palmerston North. To the east lie the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges, rugged bushwalking areas, with excellent fishing rivers running through them.
Getting There and Away
Palmerston North has an airport though direct flights to/from Australia are no longer offered, unfortunately.
Bus to Ohakune or National Park, two base towns for Mount Ruapehu ski areas. Or hire a car, which allows more flexibility in which ski area you are going to on a daily basis.
Things to Do
If you have a spare day, visit the small town of Ashhurst and see the Manawatu Gorge, and visit the nearby windfarm, which is the largest wind power generation area in the Southern Hemisphere.