Victoria Esplanade

June 22 2022 marks 125 years since The Esplanade was formally opened in 1897.

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 – thousands of mature trees, splendid roses, barbecues, croquet lawns... and the kids will love the Junior Road Safety Park, miniature railway, playground and paddling pool.

Esplanade Scenic Railway

Photo shows families riding on miniature train at a railway crossing in the Esplanade.

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 its special events.

Open weekends, public and school holidays.

Bush walks

Photo shows family walking along on a limestone pathway underneath leafy trees.  

With native bush, lush landscaping and beautiful gardens, the Esplanade offers a relaxing gentle walk through interesting surroundings, no matter your age or ability. Many of the pathways through the park are buggy and wheelchair-friendly.

Junior Road Safety Park

Photo shows gleeful kids on bikes in the road safety park.  

Palmy's Junior Road Safety Park is always humming. It's the perfect safe space for kids to ride their bike or scooter.

Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery

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. Open seven days. See the Wildbase website for more info.

River access

Victoria Esplanade is a great place to access the Manawatū River Pathway

Paddling pool

Photo shows children playing in the paddling pool.  

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

Dugald MacKenzie Rose Garden

Photo shows rose beds in formal garden setting.  

The rose garden is a beautiful spot for an afternoon stroll or a garden wedding.

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.

Discover Dugald MacKenzie Rose Garden(PDF, 655KB)


Photo shows gleeful child sliding headfirst down a shiny slide.  

Set among mature trees, Manawatū's largest playground is tucked in off Fitzherbert Avenue or accessible from inside the Esplanade.

Photo shows child who has clambered up the fort hanging above the ground on the climbing ropes.  

The playground has features for kids of all-ages including a mouse wheel, all kinds of swings, various forts with climbing ropes and slides as well as spinners for those with cast iron stomachs.

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 frog" 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. 

Picnic spots

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

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 and Wildbase. A great place to start or finish your Esplanade adventure!

Park opening hours

October to March: 9am to 9pm

April to September: 9am to 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).


The Victoria Esplanade, 1 Palm Drive, West End 4410  View Map

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