Leg 1: Hamilton to Te Aroha via Morrinsville
Depart Hamilton along State Highway 26 towards Morrinsville, a service town for the local farming community (30 mins)
- Follow the Heritage Trail with a map from the information centre. The walk showcases 21 sites including the historic Nottingham Castle Hotel.
- Discover the creativity in the town by following the arts trail or visiting Wallace Gallery
- Visit Morrin Museum, Lorne St (open 1.30-4pm Sun, Mon, Tue), with a focus on the pioneering and farming past.
- Follow the 'Herd of Cows?' Morrinsville Street Art Trail, a collection of 42 life-size cow sculptured showcasing the history and heritage of Morrinsville
Drive on to Te Aroha (15-20 mins), an Edwardian spa town at the base of Mt Te Aroha well known for its hot pools and biking and hiking tracks
- Picnic in the lovely Te Aroha Hot Springs Domain.
- See the Mokena Geyser (the world’s only hot soda water geyser).
- Soak in mineral spa pools, with a choice of luxurious private baths or spas.
- Follow the Heritage trail around the historic buildings and monuments.
- Take one of the many excellent hiking tracks or ride along the Hauraki Rail Trail
Overnight in or around Te Aroha
Leg 2: Te Aroha to Matamata
Head south to Matamata (35 mins), well known for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours, award-winning cheese and geothermal springs.
- Visit the Firth Tower Estate and Museum, an eccentric building set amidst lovely gardens (closed Tue, Wed)
- Go bush and see the Wairere Falls – allowing two hours to complete the first and second lookouts with wonderful views of the 153 metre-high falls as well as of the Waikato basin
- Tour the Hobbiton Movie Set for an insight into the genius of Peter Jackson, about 15 minutes south of town
Stay overnight at a farm stay or accommodation in town
Leg 3: Matamata to Cambridge via Karapiro
Head to Cambridge (40 mins). Known as “The Town of Trees” Cambridge offers visitors some old English charm with all the modern creature comforts.
- Shopping for the antiques, art and craft – there are several outlets in and around the town centre
- Take your pick from the fine cafes and restaurants with some street side dining in the sun
- Follow the sporting walk of fame, as it pays tribute to the town’s many Olympians
- Learn about the town’s history with a visit to the museum in the old courthouse building near the Waikato River (open seven days).
- Just a short drive away is Inspirit Gallery which sells fine art and sculptures, and Mystery Creek Wines with the leading Woodbox restaurant.
- Take the short drive up Maungakawa, which was once the site of a TB sanatorium and is the perfect setting for a picnic
- Visit picturesque Lake Karapiro – home of the World Rowing Championships 2010 (15 mins from Cambridge)
- Take in the stunning views of Lake Karapiro on a kaying adventure
- Get your adrenalin pumping with a fast paced jetboat ride on the Waikato River
Stay overnight in Cambridge or drive back to Hamilton (approx 20 mins up SH1)