• Puketapu
  • Anderson's Lagoon
  • Trotter’s Gorge


  • by car:

    45 mins north to Oamaru

  • by car:

    45 south to Dunedin

Palmerston is a hub for travellers, offering a perfect stopover with magical coastal walks, mountain views and abundant wildlife.

Seal Viewing Walk, Waitaki

Steeped in history, Palmerston is perfectly nestled as the junction of SH1 and SH85 and is also the gateway to the Otago Goldfields heritage trail and Central Otago.

Palmerston’s main landmark, visible from a distance, is Puketapu (sacred hill). Atop the hill sits a monument to early politician, Sir John McKenzie. 

There is a walking track up Puketapu which is open to visitors for most of the year. Those who tackle the walk will be rewarded with stunning 360 degree vistas which take in a patchwork of farmland, rolling hills, distant mountain, lagoons, the Shag River and a beautiful, unspoilt coastline. This walk is on private land and is closed during lambing season. 

The Shag River passes through Palmerston on it’s way to the nearby river mouth. It’s a small to medium-sized river which holds a reasonable population of brown trout.  Between Dunback and Palmerston there are a number of accessible parts of the river. Locals also enjoy a summer swim and paddle on parts of the river.

Head out to Anderson's Lagoon or Tavora Reserve for magical coastal walks and wildlife viewing or drive just 5 minutes to a lookout point to view a large colony of New Zealand fur seals.  There are more great walking options and camping at the nearby Trotter’s Gorge.

You’ll find a number of local accommodation options if you’d like to extend your stay and explore the East Otago area – including the Pioneer Motel, Waihemo Lodge and cosy Boutique B&B.

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