Often called the town of trees and champions, Cambridge is admired for its leafy streets, heritage buildings, antique shops, eateries, and its winners – not only the gold medal cyclists that train at the Grassroots Trust Velodrome and the rowers at Lake Karapiro, but also the successful race horses bred at nearby thoroughbred stud farms.

Don't Miss:  

  1. Lake Karapiro & Lake Te Koo Utu
  2. Cambridge Township
  3. Gourmet delight
  4. Galleries & shopping
  5. CamJet Jetboat tours
  6. Walk of Fame
  7. Te Awa- The Great New Zealand River Ride
  8. Grassroots Trust Velodrome
  9. Cambridge Farmers’ Market
  10. Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

There is so much to see and do in Cambridge (Kemureti in Māori) that many visitors say they wish they had planned to stay longer – and locals keep coming back.

Cambridge Township, Waipa
Cambridge town, bronze sculpture of a mare and foal in Cambridge
Lake Te Ko Utu Walk, Cambridge

One of the best ways to experience a city or a town is by exploring it on foot, and nowhere is this truer than in Cambridge, which at one stage in the late 1800s rivalled Hamilton as the largest town in the Waikato region.

Thanks to the foresight of early planners, Cambridge’s streets are today lined with towering trees, many of them exotics, enhancing the English town atmosphere.
A walking tour of Cambridge in the late spring/early summer is an especially beautiful experience with flowering cherry trees.

At any time of the year the pathways around Lake Te Koo Utu are well worth exploring too. Something of a hidden gem as it is below street level, the tree-lined lake was formed during volcanic eruptions in the Taupo area some 1,800 years ago and during World War II it was the site of a secret aviation fuel bunker.

St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Cambridge, Waipa
Grassroot Trust Velodrome Waipa, cycling cambridge
Te Awa River Ride cycling Avantidrome To Cambridge

Many of Cambridge’s buildings that date back to the Victorian and Edwardian eras are protected and can be admired as you stroll around the streets. Amongst the particularly picturesque are St Andrew’s Anglican Church, constructed in 1881, and Cambridge Primary School, built in 1879.

The Equine Stars Walk of Fame on the main street, Victoria Street, celebrates winning horses, as does the mare and foal statute in Jubilee Gardens outside the Edwardian era town hall where there is also a war memorial and clock tower.

As well as honouring its equine champions, Cambridge applauds its winning athletes in the Sports Walk of Fame along Duke Street.

Amongst them are the cyclists that train out on local roads and at the Grassroots Trust Velodrome where Cycling New Zealand is headquartered, and the rowers that are to be frequently seen on Lake Karapiro, home of Rowing New Zealand.

Athletic or simply weekend enthusiasts, cyclists – and anyone who likes to step out – will be drawn to the Te Awa Great New Zealand River Ride. This scenic 65km cycling and walking trail stretches from Ngāruawāhia to Lake Karapiro with an on road section running through the picturesque streets of Cambridge.

Cambridge Alpino Outdoor dining
Alpino Cambridge group Dining
Paddock Cambridge dining outside

Fast becoming a foodie hot spot, Cambridge’s eateries range from casual cafés that take pride in excellent coffee alongside fresh local fare and indulgent cakes, biscuits and slices prepared on the premises, to award-winning fine dining.

Amongst the town’s eateries claiming national attention is the Italian-themed Alpino Cambridge, named in the Cuisine Good Food Awards as a restaurant to watch. Another is Paddock - a popular little café on the main street of Cambridge.

Foodies will also find plenty to please in Cambridge’s delicatessens which include local artisan food products in their offerings.

Odell Home shopping Cambridge
Hus Cambridge boutique shopping
Cambridge Flowers shopping

The town is a favoured haunt for antique collectors – or anyone keen to pick up a previously owned treasure – with antique and secondhand shops along with clothing boutiques, homewares stores, giftshops, art galleries and studios. 

Each Saturday morning Victoria Square, in the heart of town, is alive with Cambridge Farmers’ Market where shoppers are attracted by the fresh-as locally grown produce including gourmet lettuces, vegetables, and, in season, berries and asparagus grown on farms surrounding Cambridge town. Cambridge Farmers’ Market also tempts with artisan foods like preserves, bread, pastries, small goods, and many other products.

Another market worth checking out is the Cambridge Trash ‘n Treasure Market, held on the second Sunday of every month in the Memorial Park Rugby Grounds.

Lake Karapiro Waipa
Waikato Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, walk
Camjet, Waikato, NZ, jet boat ride

Situated nearby at the base of Maungatautari Ecological Reserve, is Lake Karapiro, the proving ground of rowing’s elite as well as a popular spot for local boaties, kayakers and water-skiers. A glimpse into the New Zealand forests of the past, Maungatautari offers superb walking tracks through flourishing native flora and fauna.

Those looking for one of the more adrenalin-pumping things to do in Cambridge shouldn’t miss a Camjet jet boat ride on the Waikato River. The departure point is just a short walk from Cambridge town centre. Experience high-speed slides and spins on the ’thrill trip’ or try the ’scenic trip’ for a more relaxed river experience.

How far to:

  • Hamilton: 23 kms 26 mins
  • Rotorua: 92kms 1 hour 20 mins
  • Tauranga: 82kms 1 hour 8 mins

Related Links

Related Videos

Cambridge - Equine Stars Lake Karapiro