There’s no question that Feilding, a small North Island town located near Palmerston North, is one of the country’s prettiest small towns – it’s won the award of New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Town not once but a whopping fourteen times.
Visiting Feilding New Zealand
Nicknamed “Friendly Feilding” it has much to offer the casual visitor, who will delight in its Edwardian architecture, boutique shops and historic museums. Many of the walls in the centre of town are adorned with colourful murals painted by local artist Eric Brew and vibrant planting in the town’s many flower beds completes this picture postcard image.
Established in the 1870s by Colonel William Feilding of the Emigrants and Colonists Aid Corporation Ltd, Feilding retains an important role as a market town serving the surrounding rural hinterland. Set in the heart of the fertile Manawatu Plains, the area still supports a prosperous farming industry to this day. It retains its town centre saleyards and every Friday, visitors have the chance to take a guided tour led by a local farmer who will explain the history of livestock sales in the area. Tourists can also watch one of the twice-weekly sheep auctions taking place. If you’ve never been to a livestock auction, then you’re in for a treat watching the nuances of the bidding process and the shenanigans of the livestock in the holding pens.
The town’s Coach House Museum is another popular visitor attraction, focusing on the lifestyles of the Maori who made their home in the area and the European settlers who came to make Feilding New Zealand their home. One of the most popular exhibits is the extensive collection of horse-drawn vehicles, used by traders and farmers in the late 19th Century. Aficionados of farm equipment will be impressed to find a rare “Fitch Four” tractor as there are now almost none left anywhere else in the world. Kids will love the fact that you can clamber up onto many of the exhibits – a favourite is the horse-drawn “Wim” which activates a water pump.
On the edge of town, visitors will find the Manfeild motor racing circuit. Its world-class 3km circuit opened over four decades ago and since then has hosted a variety of events including the New Zealand Grand Prix, truck racing, Superbike fixtures and endurance events. Regular test days are held. Local Formula One racer Chris Amon oversaw the design of the track, ensuring that its banked corners reflected the gradients he’d enjoyed on some of Europe’s most challenging circuits.
Visiting soon? A great way to explore Feilding is by rental car or motorhome.