North Waikato

The river runs deep and so does the spirit in the north Waikato, with its rich history and remarkable stories.

Don't Miss

  1. Picnic beside Lake Hakanoa
  2. Climb the Hakarimata Ranges
  3. Woodlands Historical Homestead
  4. Zealong Tea Estate
  5. Cornerstone Alpaca Stud
  6. Nikau Caves
  7. Hampton Downs Motorsport Park
  8. Waikato War historic locations
  9. Long stretching beaches of Port Waikato
  10. Order an Ice-cream as big as your face in Pokeno
  11. Thundercross Valley Dirt Bike Park
  12. Te Awa River Ride
North Waikato, Waikato NZ
Hakarimata, Waikato, NZ
Nikau Cave, North Waikato, New Zealand

Steeped in history and culture the North Waikato showcases the region’s uniquely significant Māori and European heritage. Home of the Māori King and the Kingitanga movement, historical landmarks and battle sites can be found throughout the area. The area’s rich mineral deposits mean it was, and still is, a significant source of the nation’s power - first with coal mining and now with thermal power.

In the North Waikato bush-clad mountains make way for rugged coastlines and the mighty Waikato River as it makes its way to the sea, while small towns and villages dot the landscape with an eclectic lineup of shops, cafes and churches.

At the Hākarimata Range, in Ngāruawāhia, you can stand next to the largest kauri trees in the region or take on the infamous summit stairs on the southern side of the range, while those with subterranean tendencies can journey under the earth in the North Waikato and wonder at the untouched limestone formations and glowworms of Nikau Caves.

Zealong high tea, Gordonton, NZ, Tea Estate, Waikato
Cornerstone Alpaca Farm, North Waikato
Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, Waikato, Go karts

Foodies are catered for too with artisan producers such as Mercer Cheese, Te Kauwhata-based , Pepplers, Zealong Tea Estate and Wild Country fine foods. Not to mention Pokeno Bacon and the ‘world famous in New Zealand’ Pokeno ice-cream shop, where you can grab a 12 scoop ice-cream cone.

Join one of Cornerstone Alpaca Farm Tours, where you have the opportunity to meet and interact with stunning alpacas while feeding them. Then enjoy a bite from their onsite cafe.

Plus don’t be surprised to hear the roar of engines as the area’s three motorsport facilities rev into action. The likes of Hampton Downs Motorsport Park host regular events including track days, which give you the chance to drive on the track and also boasts go-karts, an information centre and café. While the Meremere Dragway, Evergreen Driftpark and Huntly Speedway are also popular with locals and visitors alike. The annual fireworks display at Huntly Speedway is a must-see.

Thundercross Valley Dirt Bike Park, Cycling Waikato, North Waikato
Castaways Resort, Waiuku
Port Waikato, North Waikato, NZ

Thundercross Valley Dirt Bike Park offers an exciting adventure for thrill-seekers. With a diverse range of tracks, from gentle to challenging, riders can explore rugged terrain and conquer muddy trails. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a learner seeking a new experience, you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable day out.

Throughout the rural landscape there are a raft of accommodation options, from BnB to glamping and the northernmost point at Castaways Resort is a stunning wedding venue and glamping location.

Ngaruawahia, North Waikato
Rangiriri Pa, Rangiriri, Waikato, New Zealand
Hakarimata Summit, Waikato, NZ

The more northern towns of the North Waikato have equally as much to offer, from the charming town of Tūākau with its rural surrounds to the west coast beach of Port Waikato, an uncrowded spot popular with surfers and holiday makers, perfect for watching a spectacular sunsets.

Te Awa River Ride begins in Ngāruawāhia and keen cyclists can ride alongside and over the mighty Waikato river on the iconic green Perry Bridge onwards to Hamilton Gardens. This is an easy 2 hour ride and a wonderful way to view the Waikato river. Check out Riverside Adventure's shuttle service, which is available to pick up and drop off adventurers at Te Awa River Ride.

Ngāruawāhia is also the home of the Kingitanga (Māori King) Movement and also hosts the Turangawaewae Regatta each year, a celebration of waka and maoridom on the Waikato River.

How far to:

  • Auckland: 93 kms - 1 hour
  • Hamilton: 30 kms - 25 minutes

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