It is 35km from the river's mouth and 12km from the end of the Manawatū Gorge. Palmerston North covers an area of 32,594 hectares and one million people live within a two hour (200km) radius.
The official limits of the city also take in rural areas to the south and northeast of the main urban area, extending to the Tararua Ranges and including the town of Ashhurst at the mouth of the Manawatū Gorge. This is a rich and fertile agricultural area. The city as a whole covers some 350km².
Palmerston North's climate is temperate with daytime temperatures averaging 22 °C (72 °F) in Summer and 12 °C (54 °F) in Winter. On average temperatures rise above 25 °C (77 °F) on 20 days of the year. Annual rainfall is approximately 960 mm (37.8 in) with rain occurring approximately 5% of the time. There are on average 200 rain free days each year. (Source: NIWA)