Cambridge

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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.

Top Things to do in Cambridge

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Cambridge Township
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.
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Lake Karapiro
Renowned as a world-class rowing destination, Lake Karapiro is where to go to do a bit of rowing yourself or to kayak, canoe, paddleboard, jet ski or water ski.
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Te Awa River Ride
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.
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Lake Te Koo Utu
At any time of the year the pathways around Lake Te Koo Utu are well worth exploring too.
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Grassroots Trust Velodrome
Amongst them are the cyclists that train out on local roads and at the Grassroots Trust Velodrome where Cycling New Zealand is headquartered.
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Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari
Some 30 minutes from Cambridge is Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, the largest ecological ‘island’ on mainland New Zealand.
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Gourmet delight
Cambridge’s eateries range from casual cafés that take pride in excellent coffee alongside fresh local fare and indulgent cakes and slices prepared on the premises, to award-winning fine dining.
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Galleries & shopping
The town is a favoured haunt for antique collectors with antique and secondhand shops along with clothing boutiques, homewares stores, art galleries and studios.
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Cambridge Farmers’ Market
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.
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CamJet Jetboat tours
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.

Destination Cambridge

With tree-lined streets, heritage buildings, acclaimed eateries, antique shops, fashion boutiques, homeware stores, art galleries and studios, there’s a lot to like about the Waikato town of Cambridge. Add to the mix that this is also the town of spirited champions, both equine and human, and it’s surrounded by beautiful countryside, and you have the Cambridge that is so irresistible visitors wish they had planned to stay longer, and many return – again and again.

Cambridge Rich Heritage

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.

There is also the Edwardian style Cambridge Town Hall, constructed in 1909, which overlooks Jubilee Gardens and the cenotaph where the town’s ANZAC remembrance day is held each year.

Cambridge Museum is housed in the old courthouse and has an extensive collection of artefacts and archives showcasing the history of the region.

Lake Karapiro

Renowned as a world-class rowing destination, Lake Karapiro is where to go to do a bit of rowing yourself or to kayak, canoe, paddleboard, jet ski or water ski. Park of the Waikato River, the lake was formed back in 1947 when the Karapiro Power Station and dam was constructed. At 21kms in length the lake is an impressive sight especially as you drive across the top of the dam.

Lake Karapiro is home-base for Rowing New Zealand and the adjacent Don Rowlands Events Centre is often at the heart of the action with its outdoor deck area and grandstand providing the perfect viewing spot for any event happening on the water.

Surrounding parkland includes camping facilities, picnic areas and walking trails.

Cycling in Cambridge and Surrounds

Cyclists will be drawn to the Te Awa River Ride, part of which runs through the streets of Cambridge. This scenic 65km cycling and walking trail stretches from Ngāruawāhia to Lake Karapiro.

Cambridge’s Grassroots Trust Velodrome, adjacent to St Peter’s School, is the headquarters of Cycling New Zealand, and where winners can be seen in action alongside aspiring talent. Visitors can also have a go and experience riding on the world-class velodrome track. Next to the velodrome there is the Gallagher Bike Skills Park where youngsters can test their ability on a range of track surfaces and contours as well as learn road rules.

Amongst the cycling adventures located just out of town is Te Miro Mountain Bike Park. The variety of terrain and tracks ensures the park is popular with active families as well as hard-core mountain bikers.

Walking Tracks in Cambridge

Cambridge is a great town to go strolling in. Apart from the heritage buildings and tree-lined streets, there is the ‘hidden lake’ – Lake Te Koo Utu – so-called because it’s below street level and out of sight unless you go looking. Tracks circle the lake and explore the forest-clad slopes.

A short distance from Cambridge are three walks of note. There is Maungakawa Scenic Reserve, a 10-minute drive, where the walling track is an easy 30-minute loop with stunning views out over surrounding countryside and native trees.

The Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum is a similar distance, this time to the north of Cambridge. Most sections of the all-weather walking tracks around the arboretum are accessible by wheelchair and also suitable for push chairs. Now a magnificent park with collections of trees and shrubs from around the world, as well as native plantings, this was once a hard-rock quarry. It is a dramatic setting for some 70 sculptures.

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

Some 30 minutes from Cambridge is Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, the largest ecological ‘island’ on mainland New Zealand. Enclosed by 47kms of predator-proof fence, this is a haven for rare and endangered native species. Take a guided tour or nature walk and discover why this amazing project is so special.

Antiques & Shopping in Cambridge

Amongst the drawcards are antique stores, several of which have been in business in Cambridge for 40 years or more and are highly respected for their fine art and genuine antiques. They source yesteryear treasures locally and internationally, including furniture, art works, silverware, pewter, glass, crystal, jewellery, and more.

Some antique stores to look out for are Heritage Gallery, Alys Antiques and Fine Art, Antiques on Victoria, Colonial Heritage Antiques, and Collective on Empire.

Visitors with shopping in mind will be delighted by the variety they’ll find in Cambridge, from books, boots and gifts to homewares, high fashion, sports gear, gourmet foods, and more. Here are some to check out – The Store, O’Dell Home, Hus, Simply Divine Kitchen, Green With Envy, Wallace Cotton, Leven, Rumor, Mavis & Mick.

Cambridge also boasts a number of second-hand and charity stores offering visitors a chance to recycle, slow down fast fashion and support a good cause. They are well-stocked with the usual clothing, footwear, homewares, linen, sports gear, children’s clothing, toys, books, and furniture.

Dining out in Cambridge

Fast becoming a foodie destination, Cambridge is where to eat out and treat your taste buds to some of the best with chefs taking pleasure in offering deliciousness that showcases the fresh produce and artisan products the Waikato region is known for.

Some eateries and bars are housed in heritage buildings, the charming atmosphere adding to your dining experience, while others are in more modern settings in the new buildings that herald the expansion of this once sleepy town.

In central Cambridge celebrated bars and eateries include Alpino where the fare and atmosphere are authentically Italian. Housed in the protected building that was the town’s post office, Alpino caught the attention of Cuisine Good Food Award judges who said this is a restaurant to watch.

A church built in the late 1800s is home to the hip Good Union bar and eatery where the beverages are crafted by Hamilton-based Good George Brewery and the burgers are legendary.

Amongst the other eateries in town are Onyx, Paddock, Suburban Kitchen and out in the recently developed residential area of St Kilda the St Kilda Café & Bistro where the outdoor seating area looks out over restored wetlands and a children’s playground.

Just out of town in the surrounding countryside are further cafés to try. There’s The Bikery at Grassroots Trust Velodrome, Lilly Pad Café on Kaipaki Road – make time to pop into the adjacent Garden Art Studio – and Café Irresistiblue at Monavale Blueberries.

The Equine Stars Walk of Fame

A walking tour of town will get you acquainted with many of the winners that make Cambridge proud. The Equine Stars Walk of Fame on 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.

Jet boating in Cambridge

The mighty Waikato River flows through Cambridge and one of the ways to get out on the water is in a powerful 450 hp V8 jet boat. Camjet promises adrenalin rushes taking visitors along the scenic river to the base Karapiro Dam, crossing three sets of rapids and navigating two waterfalls with some 360° spins thrown in.

Wineries & Vineyards in Waipa

The mighty maunga/mountain has views over Lake Karapiro and farming country, including the ordered rows of vines at Takapoto Estate. As well as vinting chardonnay and Bordeaux wine styles, the estate also hosts weddings and show jumping with a winter series and the Takapoto Classic held each February.

Another Waikato vineyard is Vilagrad Winery, located 20 minutes from Cambridge to the west. Vilagrad brought home a silver medal for its pinot gris in the prestigious London International Wine and Spirits competition, regarded as the Olympics of wine awards.

Top activities in Cambridge

top pick Michael Jeans
from
$55
Cambridge

CAMJET Cambridge Jet Boat Tours

Unique opportunity to visit the Karapiro Dam and see some of the amazing native bush and bird life in the Cambridge River Gorge. Ideal for you and your whole family, anyone who likes adventure, fun, speed or scenery. Speeding up the Mighty Waikato in a 450 hp V8 Jet Boat is going to get the heart pumping, adrenaline flowing and the faces smiling. If you are a thrill seeking adrenaline junkie then this is for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy a game of golf, followed by a browse round a picturesque town and a latte, or a visit to the close by Hobbiton movie set from the Lord of the Rings, then give the team at Camjet Cambridge Jet Boat Tours a call and we can have a quiet cruise up our beautiful river.
top pick Avantidrome
from
$25
Cambridge

Grassroots Trust Velodrome

Experience riding on a velodrama with our Have A Go sessions. An accredited coach will fit you with a bike and helmet and will expertly guide you through your session on the track. The session is one hour in duration and no matter what skill or fitness level you are, our coaches are experienced in tailoring your experience that’s safe but challenging enough just for you. Bike, helmet and coach provided.
top pick
from
$39
Cambridge

Riverside Adventures Bike Hire and Shuttle Service

You don't need to worry about transport or gear while you're here.

Whether you're on one of our tours or doing your own thing, our shuttle service is available to pick up and drop off any adventurers at any river trail or alternate point in our surrounding areas.

If you're after gear hire, we have you covered too! We've got regular bikes, e-bikes and accessories to really make a day of it.

Shuttle service
- Te Awa River Ride
- Hauraki Rail Trail
- The Timber Trail

Bike & e-Bike Hire
Available from our shop at the Velodrome in Cambridge

top pick Cambridge isite
from
$25
Cambridge

Dairy Farm Tour Cambridge

Walk through the paddocks, hear how best practices are engaged to manage quality with balanced environmental impact. Get close-up with the cows and discover concepts of animal breeding for maximum production. Visit the milking shed and learn how today’s farmer optimises herd output. Special clothing and protective footware will be provided. To see milking in progress, specific times need to be arranged (5.30am & 2.30pm). Outdoor closed shoes are a requirement. 60 minute tour. Operates on request, Monday to Sunday. Guests need to travel to the farm gate - 15 mins from Cambridge isite. $55 per person (including GST) minimum 2 people per tour. Reservations required. Phone or email Cambridge isite.
top pick Marie Coles
from
$3585
Cambridge

The Far North & Bay of Islands - Women Only Tour

Escorted small group tour designed for inquisitive women. Twilight encounter with forest giants in Waipoua, stay beachside in the Hokianga, cultural enlightenment at Manea and Waitangi, art galleries in Rawene & Russell, gorgeous waterfalls and bush walks in Kerikeri, see oceans meeting at Cape Reinga, visit gardens & museums, explore the stunning Karikari Peninsula, eat fresh fish & chips in Mangonui, stay in the iconic Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell, cruise the Hokianga Harbour and Bay of Islands.
top pick Resolution Retreats
from
$250
Cambridge

Resolution Retreats

We have designed our programmes based on research and experience in bringing diet, exercise, treatments, therapies, therapists and education together in such a way that gives our guests the best results and the greatest opportunity to improve their lives. Do you or someone you know struggle with weight loss, getting healthy, changing health habits or struggling to lose those pesky last few kilos? Are you just not getting the results you desire? Are you losing motivation or are considering some of the more invasive and extreme weight loss measures? You're not in it alone - we can help you, all whilst having a fabulous luxury retreat experience. We are so confident in our programmes, that weight loss is guaranteed while you're with us.
top pick Phillip Bartlett
from
$2000
Cambridge

Capture New Zealand

We specialise in exciting and inspiring New Zealand photography workshops, tours and expeditions with effective photography guidance from a New Zealand professional landscape photographer with 20 years' expertise. Wherever you are on your photographic journey we work with you to become a more skilful and confident photographer. Upcoming New Zealand photo workshops for 2023 include: the Winter Landscape of the South Island, Southern Alps and Glaciers aerial photography by helicopter, Albatrosses and Dolphins of Kaikōura by private boat charter, and the Hidden Realm of the Fiordland National Park. More exciting photography tours for 2023 and 2024 coming soon. We welcome you to join us for your next photography adventure.
top pick Cambridge Museum
Free
Cambridge

Cambridge Museum

Located in the Old Courthouse in Victoria Street, the Cambridge Museum aims to preserve Cambridge's rich historical legacy for future generations. In the late 19th century, Cambridge residents started collecting items of local interest relating to historical research, pre-European settlement, and the development of Cambridge. The Museum now has a fine collection of artefacts and archival material including biographies, historical information on local businesses, clubs, people and societies, buildings information, land and property records, military records (particularly the 3rd Waikato Militia and WWI Cambridge soldiers), school records, family histories and a wealth of photographs, postcards and ephemera.
top pick Marie Coles
from
$3050
Cambridge

Cycle Hauraki & Waikato River Trail - Women Only Tour

Begin your tour in the beautiful town of Cambridge and ride the new Te Awa trail to Tamahere. Visits will be made to the world-renowned Hamilton Gardens, a horse stud, and the Velodrome. Day 3 - cycling from Kaiaua along the Firth of Thames past migratory birds, and on to historic Thames. Day 4 cycle across farmland to Paeroa where L&P and antique shops await. Day 5 - scenic cycle through the stunning Karangahake Gorge to Waihi Beach. Day 6 is a rest day. Day 7 includes cycling and walking in the gorge before riding across farmland to Te Aroha where you'll see the world's only natural soda water geyser. Day 8 - cycle across farmland to Matamata and along the Waikato River Trail before ending back in Cambridge for our last night.
top pick Marie Coles
from
$4160
Cambridge

Central Otago Autumn Cycling - Women Only Tour

By E-bike the group will be guided along epic cycling tracks including the Poolburn Gorge (part of the Central Otago Rail Trail), the Roxburgh Gorge (including an exciting jetboat ride along the way), and the stunning new Lake Dunstan Trail (including boat cruise from Clyde to Cromwell). Stroll along the lake front at Wanaka and get a pic of "that tree". Try curling on ice in Naseby and visit St Bathans. Enjoy refreshments at Cardrona Distillery & the iconic Cardrona Hotel. Drive across the Crown Ranges for wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. Relax in beautiful Millbrook Resort and explore the quaint town of Arrowtown. Cycle the Gibbston Valley track to vineyards for wine tasting.
top pick Avantidrome
from
$6
Cambridge

Avantidrome – guided tour

Discover Waikato’s world class facility, centered around a purpose built 250m wooden with a guided tour. A great opportunity to learn about the history of the Avantidrome and find out more about the facilities and programmes we have on offer. While you are here, grab yourself a spot in the stands and watch New Zealand’s track cyclists train or perhaps rub shoulders with one of the Waikato/BOP Magic players or All Blacks Sevens team in the tunnel. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some of New Zealand’s Olympic heroes hanging around. Avantidrome Tours take place on a weekly basis. Private bookings of a minimum of 10 persons welcome outside designated tour times.
top pick Cambridge isite
Free
Cambridge

Cambridge isite Visitor Information Centre

The Cambridge isite Visitor Centre is part of New Zealand's official Visitor Information Network. We invite you to visit Cambridge where you will discover our welcoming community, beautiful seasons and green spaces, boutique retail, award winning eateries, adventure, tranquil places to stay, cycling and rural activities. Explore our website and discover Cambridge for yourself. Visit us for free information and maps, and to make you bookings for Cambridge and all of New Zealand, we look forward to assisting you.

Top accommodation in Cambridge

top pick
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$575
Maungatautari

The Lakehouse at Takapoto Estate

The pantry and fridge are stocked with breakfast items that were produced and harvested from the Estate's own chickens, bees, Angus beef, vineyard, olive trees and market garden, making for a truly unique and memorable experience.

Whether you're looking to relax and take in the natural beauty of the surroundings or explore all that the region has to offer, The Lakehouse is the perfect place to stay.

top pick Mauro Risch
from
$229
Cambridge

Hidden Lake Hotel and Apartments

Hidden Lake Hotel is a boutique slice of contemporary New Zealand immersed in treed north island nature typical to the region. It’s difficult to believe you are so close to Hamilton Airport and all that the Waikato has to offer. Contemporary styling is a feature of rooms and apartments with superior appointments and technical luxuries. Everything is well thought out and delivered with on-trend hospitality. Expect a high level of service without fuss. Down to earth as is the New Zealand way. Enjoy the designer interiors and scenic outlooks while being pampered with share plates, local wines and spa treatments.
top pick Open2View
from
$160
Cambridge

Podium Lodge

Podium Lodge has been designed specifically for athletes to support their training or performance ambitions but we welcome anyone looking to stay in a spacious and modern facility with a sporting vibe. This 86 bed accommodation facility is situated on the northern fringe of Cambridge with access to local world class sporting and recreational facilities. 20 minutes from Hamilton Airport, minutes from Cambridge town and a gateway to numerous regional attractions. Whatever the reason for your visit, Podium Lodge is a complete accommodation experience with a team committed to ensuring your stay is a memorable one. We are not for profit and all proceeds are returned to the community.
top pick Kelly Rd Cambridge Lodge
from
$179
Cambridge

Kelly Rd Cambridge Lodge

Enjoy a relaxing stay at Kelly Rd – elegant and contemporary accommodation in Cambridge, New Zealand We are located at the entrance of the beautiful tree-lined Cambridge, five minutes from the town square, boutique shops and cafés with Hamilton International airport a 20-minute drive away. Let us be your home away from home while you soak up the local rural natural environment and explore the region’s attractions along the road less travelled. Stay in one of our studio units or a one or two bedroom apartment and view the artwork and stories of the region’s champions showcased in each room. Kelly Rd Cambridge accommodation delivers genuine excellence.
top pick Trisha Wren
from
$225
Cambridge

The Woolshed, Cassie's Farm

Converted Woolshed, retaining lots of original kiwi features including woolpress, corrugated iron, and native timber. Wraparound deck with all day sun. One double room (queen bed) and one twin. Full kitchen - stove, fridge freezer, kettle, toaster, panini press, coffee plunger, log burner; TV, DVD, freeview, and large selection of movies; WIFI Bathroom and washing machine. Walk on farm tracks to the end of the farm, enjoying the views and birdlife on the way. Explore our ponds and convenanted 40 acres of Native Bush. The 3 top words our visitors use to describe The Woolshed? Comfortable, peaceful, and cosy.
top pick HH
from
$140
Cambridge

Hazelbank House

Cambridge is the Town of Trees and Champions, situated in the heart of the Waikato province It is well known for its equine industry and for its lush farmland. In addition to the many activities and attractions in Cambridge, Maungatautari Ecological Trust, Lake Karapiro, and Mystery Creek Event Center to name a few, several of the main Tourist attractions in New Zealand are approximately one hours drive from Cambridge e.g. Hobbiton,Waitomo, Rotorua, Tauranga, and Otorohanga, Raglan.