Victoria Esplanade

From its renowned rose gardens and leafy walkways to its scenic railway, Victoria Esplanade is treasured by young and old alike.


Victoria Esplanade is Palmerston North’s premier park.  Covering 26 ha it includes:

  • The Dugald MacKenzie Rose Gardens - Opened in 1968, the garden has three  sections: the formal rose beds, the trial grounds and the plant variety rights collection. The garden contains over 5000 roses in named beds. It is much admired by many local, national and international visitors. The garden is also home of the New Zealand Rose Society International Rose Trial Grounds. The Garden has received the Garden of Excellence award from the World Federation of Rose Societies.  Visit for more information.
  • Peter Black Conservatory -  originally constructed in 1941 and refurbished in 2014 the Conservatory is home to a range of plants from tropical Africa, the lowland tropical and montane regions of Mexico, Central and South America through to the Pacific islands, Papa New Guinea, New Caledonia.  The entry contains a nationally known collection of the Equatorial Rhododendrons and terrestrial orchids 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 11 ha of native bush and exotic arboretum the Victoria Esplanade offers a relaxing gentle walk in interesting surroundings. There are a little over 3.5 km of walkways to explore with a fernery, a Forest and bird Tree Trial and various gardens.  Pop out to the Manawatu River near the Fitzherbert Bridge and visit the Okatia Steps beside the Fitzherbert Bridge and get views up and down the mighty Manawatu River.
  • Playground – Manawatu’s largest playground set among beautiful mature trees is tucked in off Fitzherbert Avenue or accessible from inside the Victoria 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 BBQ area specifically set up for picnics.  One in the playground and one in the central area near the aviaries and paddling pool.  With free electric BBQ’s picnic tables and plenty of space it’s a great place for a weekend family outing.
  • Paddling Pool – open through the summer this historic RSA paddling pool has provided generations of delight to locals and visitors alike.  A great place for the kids to cool off on a hot day.  There are newly refurbished toilets just 25 m away.
  • Café Esplanade – this historic building was a post office in a previous life.  Now the home of the Victoria Esplanade’s café it provides great hospitality – also available for events and functions it is located in the middle of the Esplanade close to the rose gardens, paddling pool, aviaries and conservatory.  A great place to start of finish your Esplanade adventure from.
  • Esplanade Scenic Railway – since 1969 the Victoria Esplanade has been the home of the Esplanade Scenic Railway, a volunteer run 2.2 km long miniature railway line.  The train is hugely popular with children and running 4 different locomotives with two trains usually running at once.  With stations at the playground or Lido Swimming Pool end of the Esplanade it’s a great fun activity.  Keep your eyes peeled for their special fun event days and visit for more information.

Used for

Play, Paddling, Weddings, Concerts, Walking, Picnics, and plain old relaxing.


Rose gardens, walkway, paddling pool, play equipment, croquet lawns, conservatory, arboretum, aviary, café.


October to March: 8am-9pm

April to September: 8am-6pm

Gates locked at night

Dog Access

On-leash throughout.

No dogs in the area containing the aviaries and children's paddling pool.

No dogs near the children's playgrounds, or the surrounding sportsgrounds (Lido Aquatic Centre, Ruha Reserve/ Holiday Park, Ongley Park, Manawaroa Park or Fitzherbert Park).

Dogs are allowed off leash at Dittmer Reserve, to the south-west of Victoria Esplanade.

See map to get a better picture of where you can and can't take your dog.


Park Road or Manawaroa Street