Victoria Esplanade

Palmerston North’s premier park with 26 hectares of bush walks, bike tracks and formal gardens. It’s got something for everyone in the family – beautiful roses, barbecues, croquet lawns... and the kids will love the Junior Road Safety Park, miniature railway, playground and paddling pool.

Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery

Opened just this year, Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery provides shelter and world-class care for native wildlife to rehabilitate after treatment at Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital.

Entry is free, and there's plenty to discover! With four rehabilitation aviaries on public view, two breeding aviaries for whio and pāteke and a walkthrough aviary which is home to a variety of native birds and ancient tuatara, you're in for a treat.

Dugald MacKenzie Rose Garden

Opened in 1968, this much-admired garden boasts more than 5,000 roses in named beds, in three  sections: the formal rose beds, the New Zealand Rose Society International Rose Trial Grounds, and the plant variety rights collection. 

Peter Black Conservatory

Originally constructed in 1941 and refurbished in 2014, the conservatory is home to a range of tropical plants from Africa, the Americas and Oceania, providing a wonderful botanic experience for young and old. There are informative signs on many interesting plants and a “find the frogs” activity for the young  - and young at heart. Come in and find out what vanilla plants look like and discover the bug-eating pitcher plants. 

Bush walks

With 11ha of native bush and exotic arboretum the Victoria Esplanade offers a relaxing gentle walk in interesting surroundings. There are a little over 3.5km of walkways to explore with a fernery, a Forest and Bird Tree Trial and various gardens. Pop out to the shared river pathway and visit the Okatia Steps near the Fitzherbert Bridge for wonderful scenic views of the Manawatū River.


Manawatu’s largest playground set among beautiful mature trees is tucked in off Fitzherbert Avenue or accessible from inside the Esplanade. Refurbished in 2015 it includes mouse wheels, a junior playground, extensive swings including a basket swing, various fort structures with large slides as well as the usual assortment of spinning features for those with cast iron stomachs.

Picnic spots

There are two free barbecue areas specifically set up for picnics, one in the playground and one in the central area near the aviaries and paddling pool. With free electric BBQs, picnic tables, and plenty of space, it’s a great place for a family outing.

Paddling Pool

Open through the summer, this historic RSA paddling pool has delighted generations of kids. There are newly refurbished toilets just 25m away.

Café Esplanade

This historic building was a post office in a previous life. Now the park's café, it's also available for events and functions. You'll find it in the middle of the Esplanade, close to the rose gardens, paddling pool, aviaries and conservatory. A great place to start or finish your Esplanade adventure!

Esplanade Scenic Railway

One of the park's most popular attractions, this 2.2km miniature railway is run by volunteers, with stations at the playground and near the Lido. Keep your eyes peeled for their special fun event days and visit for more information.

Junior Road Safety Park

Complete with a miniature roundabout, give way and stop signs, traffic lights and a station to pump up tyres, the Junior Road Safety Park is the perfect place for kids to ride their bike or scooter.


October to March: 8am-9pm

April to September: 8am-6pm

Gates locked at night

Dog access

On-leash throughout.

Dogs are prohibited near Wildbase Recovery, the children's playground and paddling pool, and the surrounding sportsgrounds: Fitzherbert, Manawaroa and Ongley Parks.  

Dogs are allowed off leash at Dittmer Reserve, to the south-west of Victoria Esplanade, and along most of the river shared pathway (the exception is where the path is adjacent to the Esplanade).


Entry via Park Road or Manawaroa Street.