Free Parking in the Palmerston City Centre

Parking is free in both time restricted parking areas and all-day parking areas across Palmerston, subject to a valid ticket. 

The ticket is free and can be obtained through the PayStay parking app for the corresponding zone, or a parking meter if one is available at the corresponding area. Tickets help Council ensure when you park in these areas, you are complying with the signed time limits. These time limits are in place to help achieve turn over and support local businesses. 

Regulated parking (ticketed) is between 8.00am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday. You can park in designated parking spaces across the City Centre without a ticket and without a time limit after 4.00pm, and on weekends and public holidays. This assists in making parking more effective and supports local business by encouraging turn over. 

Frequently asked questions 

PayStay information

For help using the PayStay app:

Set up your account
Download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store. 
Set up your account via the app on your phone, or the support, phone 1300 322 111.

Begin your parking session
Before you leave your vehicle:
•    open the PayStay app or phone 1300 322 111
•    select your vehicle registration
•    enter the eight-digit PayStay zone number displayed on the PayStay parking sign 
•    select start

End your parking session
On returning to your vehicle:
•    Open the PayStay app or call 1300 322 111
•    Locate your session and select stop. If a vehicle overstays the permitted time limit, an infringement may be issued.

How do I get my free ticket?

If you are parking in a 1 hour (Zone B), 2 hour (Zone C) or 4 hour (Zone D) parking area, you can get your FREE ticket, by using the PayStay app for the corresponding zone. If a parking meter is available near by, enter your vehicle’s registration number. 

This will allow your vehicle to park in the time-restricted area up until you have reached the time limit. After you have reached the time limit for that parking area, a new ticket will not be issued for your vehicle’s registration number. This is to prevent meter-feeding and ensure turn over is being achieved in our parking areas.

Drivers should check parking meters carefully to ensure they have obtained a valid FREE parking ticket for their parking area. Council’s parking areas are shown on this map.

How did we get here?

Council recognises the importance of building Palmerston as ‘A Place for People’. 

One practical way for Council to deliver this is to ensure parking across the City Centre is well managed and suited to the needs to the City Centre. Effective parking promotes movement, creates a sense of place encourages economic growth and meets the needs of the community and business owners.

Council undertook a study between October 2018 and April 2019 to understand how parking in the City Centre currently functions.

The study involved parking surveys observing occupancy and turn-over, reviewing the policy framework and investigating parking principles and best practice. 

The results of this study provided the following significant findings:

  • Public parking behaviour in the City Centre is not measurably altered by pricing when charged at marginal rates.
  • The greatest demand is generally in locations where all-day parking is available.
  • There was an opportunity to consolidate and amend parking zones to improve utilisation and better meet actual, observed demand.

You can access a copy of the Palmerston City Centre Parking Study: Background Report, Strategy and Implementation Plan from the Downloads section at the bottom of this webpage.


What are the parking zones? 

Council has 5 different zones to help manage parking and these align with the different time limits. These are: 

  • Zone A – 15 and 30 minute parking areas. No ticket is required in these areas, which is why you won’t see Council identifying the zone on the parking signs for these spaces. 
  • Zone B – 1 hour parking area
  • Zone C – 2 hour parking area
  • Zone D – 4 hour parking area
  • Zone E – all day parking area.
Where can I park?

You can view the Council parking areas and time limits on this map.

Do I have to display a ticket if I have a disabled permit?

No. If you display a disabled parking permit, you are not required to obtain a ticket from the parking meter. If you display a disabled parking permit, you area also entitled to park for twice the sign posted period.

Do I have to display a ticket if I ride a motorbike? 

Bikes are encouraged to park in designated motorbike parking areas. Parking in these areas is free for motorbikes and scooters.

Can I pay after I have reached the time limit?

You will not be able to pay to extend your parking session.

The purpose of the time limit is to promote turn-over of key parking areas across the City Centre. To achieve this, you will only be able park in designated areas for UP TO the designated time limit. If you expect that you will need to park longer for your visit to the City Centre, you should consider parking in an area with a longer time limit. 

Why won’t the machine give me another ticket? 

When you get your free ticket, you will need to enter your registration number. This will be recorded by the parking meter. Once you have reached the time limit, the parking meter will not issue a new ticket.

If I have reached my parking time limit, when can I get a new ticket? 

You will not be able to obtain a new ticket for the vehicle’s registration plate until 1 hour has passed since the expiry of your last parking session. 


Palmerston City Centre Parking Study: Background Report
Palmerston City Centre Parking Study: Strategy
Palmerston City Centre Parking Study: Implementation Plan
City Centre Parking Study: Consultation Report 
Car Parking Contribution Plan
City Centre Parking Map