Backpacking in New Zealand: Palmerston North, Fawlty Towers Suicide Capital?

Backpacking in New Zealand: Palmerston North, Fawlty Towers Suicide Capital?

Seems weird to have a Palmerston North, with no obvious place called Palmerston South. I didn’t even question that, but I did wonder why. (Answer for you below anyway). 

And is this really a suicide capital?? John Cleese, once of hit BBC Sitcom Fawlty Towers seems to think so…

Palmerston North was surprisingly big, one of may stops on the way up to Papamoa from Wellington. It’s a traditional untouristy “city” (in the loosest sense of the word) in the North Island of New Zealand.

My Nakedbus stopped at Palmerston North.

The roundabout at The Square. If that makes sense.

The Clock Tower.

The Square Centre on what seemed to be the main street.



The nice thin clock in the main square at Palmerston North.

Some Maori art in the same square, by the council buildings.

This stone was called “Johnny Penisula.”

Which was rather amusing.

And from Samoa.

Council Offices at PN.

Pond in the centre.

Gardens in the square.

Office building.

I liked this striking building, built in 1945.

A church.

One of the main streets.

Bridge and the pond.

Information on the opening of the clock.

A railway station was once here. My bus isn’t even full, and prices start at $1, so I can’t imagine a railway line here would be thriving…

This street reminded me of somewhere in the USA. Very spread out and office based.

War memorial.

Park to relax.

Chilling. Used the automatic function to take that. Nobody was around.

Ladies Rest – we know they do.

Bullshit and Bull semen were readily available in Palmerston North. I tried neither.

It was nice to see around in the sun and enjoy the relaxation of such a quiet city. I didn’t stay overnight, or even that long, it was a bus change over on my way up. You won’t need much time there, though you can visit a Brewery nearby. I didn’t.

What – Palmerston North

Where – North of Wellington in the North Island of New Zealand

Transport Used – Nakedbus (kept my clothes on)

Population – 81,600

If This Is Palmerston North, where is Palmerston South? – There isn’t one, apparently it’s so called because it’s the Palmerston on the North Island. Palmerston (without the “south” prefix) is on the South Island.

John Clesse Fact – Comedian John Cleese annoyed the residents of Palmerston North in 2006 when he described the City as the “suicide capital of New Zealand”. Cleese said he had a “bloody miserable time” while there during his 2005 tour of New Zealand, and suggested that “f you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick”.

Locals responded a year later by naming a hill of refuse at the local landfill “Mount Cleese” (got to love Kiwis)






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