Located in the lower part of New Zealand's North Island, Manawatu is a region on the south-western side of the island named for the dramatic Manawatu River which is one of only a few rivers in the entire world that cuts through a mountain range. Palmerston North is the main city of Manawatu and is located approximately 2 hours north of Wellington, the international gateway to Manawatu.
Getting to Palmerston North from Australia is easy thanks to Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia. There are a number of direct flights to Wellington offered daily departing Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Cairns, Gold Coast and Perth taking between 3 to 10 hours. If you're wondering how to get to Manawatu from Wellington, it's an easy 2 hour drive north along State Highway 1 all the way to Palmerston North. Getting around Manawatu is just as easy thanks to the main road networks which run through the region, including State Highway 1 and State Highway 3.
The Manawatu region is also on the main rail line between Wellington and Auckland with a stop in Palmerston North, so if you'd prefer to let someone else take care of the transport and simply sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery this is a great option for getting to Palmerston North. The Northbound Train operates on a six day timetable and takes in some of New Zealand's most beautiful landscapes. The famous Northern Explorer departs Auckland on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with departures from Wellington on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
The Capital Connection is the Southbound Train that passes through Manuwatu and does the trip to and from Wellington with ease. Running Monday to Friday, this commuter rail service takes just two hours to travel between Wellington and Palmerston North. Although a little less scenic than the northbound train, this is the ideal travel option for visitors who are pushed for time and after an affordable transport option.