Coastal North Otago


As the junction town of State Highway 1 and 85, Palmerston is a great place to stop and spend some time. 

Palmerston’s main landmark is Puketapu (sacred hill), upon which is a monument to Sir John McKenzie, an early politician. Visitors can walk up the hill and even climb up inside the monument for amazing 360 degree vistas of valleys, hills, mountains and an unspoiled coastline. The track is open most of the year with the exception of lambing season (Springtime).

From the top of Puketapu you'll have a great view of the Shag River as it meanders down the Shag Valley via Palmerston and out to the river mouth. The river is small to medium in size and it can be accessed at a number of places between Dunback and Palmerston. The river is home to a reasonable number of trout (brown trout). Locals can often be found fishing, swimming in and kayaking on the river.

There are some other great local walking options which showcase rolling countryside and a rugged coastline. Drive 5-10 minutes out to Tavora Reserve or Anderson's Lagoon for stunning coastal walks wildlife viewing. Head to Shag Point, just 5-10 minutes from Palmerston, to walk around a colony of New Zealand fur seals sleeping, playing and basking in the sun.

Pop into the i-SITE where the friendly staff can help with information services and activities. Browse the funky collection of gift shops, quirky boutique stores, craft-collections and second-hadn shops. Enjoy something tasty to eat at any one of the cafes/restaurants/takeaways and sit outside under the shade sails with a cold drink in hand.From Palmerston, you can journey out on SH85 to visit Dunback and Macraes or venture north on SH1 toward Oamaru.