Te Aroha

Things to do in Te Aroha

Built on the lower foothills of Mount Te Aroha in the northeast of the Waikato region, the settlement of Te Aroha has a proud history as a gold mining boom-town and spa resort. The town’s identity is founded around its heritage, and you’ll find no shortage of things to do in Te Aroha, from exciting mountain adventures to historic journeys and thermal spas.

Te Aroha spas

Located in Te Aroha Domain, Te Aroha Mineral Spas offer a range of luxurious experiences, from spa baths in wooden tubs to massages and beauty treatments provided by experienced therapists.

The range of pools at Swim Zone Te Aroha includes family-friendly options suitable for young children and toddlers. The No. 2 Bath House where the mineral water is made up of silica and bicarbonate and keeps your skin soft can be booked for private soaking.

Te Aroha walking tracks

For a natural high there is the hike to the top of Mt Te Aroha, which stands 952 metres tall over the township. The spectacular views over the surrounding countryside are a fine reward for the steep climb – allow about 5 hours for the round trip.

There are also walking trails through the Waiorongomai Valley where in the late 1880s gold was discovered. Still visible along the trail are the remains of the Piako County Tramway, New Zealand’s oldest bush tramway, plus other machinery and miners’ lodgings.

Howarth Memorial Wetlands – An easy 50-minute loop walk, this is a great one to do with the kids. It’s mostly flat, follows a section of the Waihou River and includes the wetland bird sanctuary.

Te Aroha Cycling Trails

A great four-five day cycle ride, the Hauraki Rail Trail is one of the easiest Great New Zealand Rides. It follows the historic railway line between Thames, Waihi, Te Aroha and Matamata. There’s no need to ride the entire 197km trail in one big adventure, however, as there are five well defined sections – e.g. the easy 37kms between Te Aroha and Matamata trail that can be ridden in 3-4 hours and traverses the fertile Waikato plains where there is dairy and sheep farming, as well as thoroughbred horse studs.

Te Aroha Mountain Bike Track – Lacing through the foothills of Mount Te Aroha, this purpose-built track is suitable for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers. Starting and finishing at Te Aroha Domain, the 10km track weaves through stands of native bush and rewards with some excellent views out over the plains.

Te Aroha Domain
Te Aroha Domain and Mt Te Aroha, Waikato
Mokena geyser Te Aroha, hot soda water geysers

Te Aroha Domain

Resplendent with heritage buildings from the Victorian and Edwardian eras when Te Aroha was a popular spa destination, Te Aroha Domain is very much the centre of town and the starting point for many of the experiences here.

The distinctive cream weatherboard buildings with their red roofs were constructed in the late 1800s and today house the likes of Te Aroha Mineral Spas, Te Aroha and Districts Museum, Te Aroha isite, Swim Zone Te Aroha and Cottage Café.

Also in the domain are the band rotunda, bowling green and croquet club, an art gallery, barbecue area and a playground.

For anyone taking a walk around one of the town’s trails or hiking to the summit of Mount Te Aroha (953m), the domain is where to start.

Mokena Geyser

Believed to be the only natural thermal soda water geyser in the world, Mokena Geyser erupts every 40 minutes throwing sodium bicarbonate-infused water up to five metres into the air. It produces about 28,000 litres of crystal-clear water each day with a temperature range of 75-85C.

One of the great free attractions in the Waikato, Mokena Geyser is a short walk from Te Aroha Domain.

Te Aroha Village, Te Aroha, Waikato, NZ

Te Aroha and District Museum

Located in the Cadman Bath House, which was built in 1898 to mark Queen Victoria’s 79th birthday, Te Aroha and District Museum is said by many visitors to be the best little museum in New Zealand. Artefacts and photograph collections on display date back to early Māori, the gold mining days, early European settlement and the town’s spa history. Exhibitions also tell the more recent stories of the area’s ongoing development.

Te Aroha Heritage Trail

Te Aroha’s fascinating history is revealed in the Te Aroha Heritage Trail, a leisurely two-kilometre stroll around the town. The trail starts In Te Aroha Domain where the beautiful Victorian and Edwardian buildings date back to the time when the natural spa waters here drew visitors from afar. The area’s gold mining past is also showcased. You can pick up a walking guide from Te Aroha isite Visitor Information Centre at the domain gates.

Street Sculptures and Adrian Worsley Gallery

Te Aroha sculptor Adrian Worsely has made his mark around town in a series of works that are both artistic and functional, such as the dachshund dog bike stand outside Te Aroha’s Palace Hotel and a penny farthing-style bike outside Te Aroha Railway Station.

A former fitter and welder and cabinetmaker, Adrian is the creative behind the sculptures, many of which do double time as practical bicycle racks and drinking fountains.

His works are fabricated out of scrap metal including bits and pieces of machinery, tools and farm implements, and as well as those around town there are more on display at the Adrian Worsley Art Gallery which can be visited by appointment.

The Old Forge Kitchen, Te Aroha

Aroha Cruise In

All manner of interesting vehicles from classic cars, hot rods and motorbikes come to town for the annual Aroha Cruise In. The day includes live music and family fun such as the colourfully dressed living statutes that at first appear static and then surprise when they come to life. There is also a food festival tempting with everything from fresh berries and locally made gourmet ice cream to hot dogs, dumplings, tacos, crepes, and coffee, of course. A market features the likes of collectibles, handcrafts, art and apparel.

Te Aroha dining

From gourmet 'paddock to plate' cuisine to quirky cafes and organic health shops, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes. Explore dining options in Te Aroha here

Te Aroha Golf Club

Along with the regular game of golf involving birdies and bogies, at Te Aroha Golf Club there is also foot golf – that fun hybrid game where players kick a soccer ball aiming to get the ball to the foot golf hole with the lowest number of kicks.

The club, which is located on SH26 on the northern side of town and surrounded by the foothills of the Kaimai Ranges, welcomes guest golfers of all ages and skill levels.