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Prepare to be entertained, amused and fascinated in Ōtorohanga, New Zealand’s self-made 'kiwiana' town.

Destination Ōtorohanga

Ōtorohanga is located 45 minutes south of Hamilton on the way to the Waitomo Caves region and at just about every turn this town celebrates the national identity of New Zealand with displays of icons, heroes and traditions – and colourful hanging baskets of flowers along the main street.

Sir Edmund Hillary Walkway

For Kiwiana buffs, on the main street there is the Sir Edmund Hillary Walkway where many things synonymous with the Kiwi lifestyle are on display, from A to Z – from the All Blacks and the haka to the vote for women (New Zealand gave women the vote in 1893, the first country in the world to do so) and Weet-Bix, a favourite breakfast cereal for many.

Elsewhere in town there is a veritable streetscape of specially commissioned Kiwiana murals and sculptures, including giant kiwis fabricated from a variety of materials such as the ubiquitous New Zealand building material, corrugated iron.

Ōtorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park

No visit to Ōtorohanga would be complete without checking out the iconic kiwi, the flightless nocturnal bird that is intrinsically New Zealand.

Set in park-like surroundings, the world-famous Ōtorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park gives you a chance to see kiwis in innovatively designed nocturnal enclosures. It’s dedicated to the conservation of New Zealand's native wildlife incubating and raising kiwi chicks for release into the wild.

Many other native birds such as tūī, ruru (morepork), kea and kākāriki (parakeet) are housed in a walk-through aviary where a natural rainforest habitat has been recreated for them. Also exhibited are insects such as the giant wétā and reptiles including the rare tuatara.

Ōtorohanga Museum & Waka House

A collection of the town’s pioneering buildings includes a museum as well as the specially constructed Waka House alongside where a partially completed waka dating back 150-plus years is on display. The canoe, nearly 12 metres in length, still has some tree roots at the stern end while the bow has been shaped.

Jim Barker Memorial Playground

Even the town’s public toilets are a light-hearted tribute to New Zealand’s popular culture, while the Jim Barker Memorial Playground at the southern edge of town also incorporates Kiwiana, much to the delight of visiting families.

Ōtorohanga Stopbank Pathway

Kiwiana and kiwis aside, the Ōtorohanga Stopbank Pathway that runs along the Waipa River is a great walking and cycling track with the elevation providing views of the river as well as nearby parks, sports grounds and the lake. Storyboards and works of art along the way provide interesting insights.

Shopping and Dining

Eateries also beckon, including O Café on the main street as well as the Fat Kiwi Café on Te Kanawa Street. Two local bakeries have both savoury and sweet treats, while the local coffee roaster Origin Coffee can be found in the old railway station on Wahanui Street – the house special being a white rhino, a white chocolate mochaccino. Check out dining options on Ōtorohanga here.

This vibrant town is the gateway to the Waitomo district with its glow worm caves, black water rafting, abseiling while above ground amongst the attractions are walkways and cycling trails through countryside that features dramatic limestone outcrops some of which have ‘starred’ in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movie. There are waterfalls too, including the Marokopa Falls, said to be the most beautiful in New Zealand. There’s boutique-style accommodation on offer here too, both in town and rurally where some of the farming families welcome visitors.

Top activities in Ōtorohanga

top pick Pikitia Postcards

Ōtorohanga Kiwi House

The Ōtorohanga Kiwi House has been breeding kiwi since 1971. The not-for-profit wildlife and conservation centre displays kiwi birds all day in specialised moonlit nocturnal houses complete with burrow cameras. And it breeds rare native New Zealand wildlife for release to the wild. The family-friendly NZ wildlife centre offers close up viewing of NZ's national bird, the kiwi. There are also ponds, wetland areas and walk-through aviaries including a giant dome aviary. Open daily, except Christmas Day. Informative Keeper talks at 10.30am, 1.30pm & 3.30pm (kiwi) plus 11am (native parrots: kea & kaka) 12pm (kakariki) and 2.30pm (long fin eels & blue ducks). All ticket sales are reinvested in the centre's wildlife & conservation work.
top pick Waitomo farm tours

Waitomo Farm Tours

Escorted Tours- From Waitomo Village the whole trip, with ½ hour and 1 hour options, is aboard our Viking All Terrain Vehicle. Our extended tours combine on road travel to various venues by van or bus and access to farms, attractions and scenic views with our specialist off road vehicle 6 seater viking. Our guides will show you unique stunning breathtaking scenery in these super capable and exciting machines.
top pick Otorohanga isite

Ōtorohanga isite Visitor Information Centre

The Ōtorohanga isite Visitor Centre is part of New Zealand's official nationwide Visitor Information Network. Ōtorohanga, the Kiwiana capital of New Zealand and gateway to the Waitomo region welcomes international tourists and New Zealand travellers with its colourful hanging baskets, warm friendly cafes and excellent retail outlets. Every person who works at the Ōtorohanga isite is a local travel expert. They will help you to find quality activities, attractions, accommodation, transport and more.

Top accommodation in Ōtorohanga

top pick Kamahi Cottage

Kamahi Cottage

Kamahi Cottage is a private luxury farm stay and B&B in a beautiful country garden 30 minutes from the Waitomo Caves & 15 minutes from Otorohanga. The cottage is fully self-contained with an upstairs queen bedroom, downstairs spacious bathroom, fully equipped kitchenette, lounge and dining area, plus luxurious sofa that converts to a queen bed for 2 extra guests. Free unlimited WIFI, sound system & CD collection, TV/DVD, free mini bar, heating/air conditioning. Daily home baking, specialty teas, locally roasted coffee beans and fresh flowers. Free full gourmet breakfasts (continental plus a large selection of cooked choices) served whenever guests prefer. Private dinners catered by prior request (extra charges apply).
top pick Otorohanga Kiwi Holiday Park

Otorohanga Kiwi Holiday Park

Online bookings with 24 hr self check in facility. Accommodation to suit all budgets. Large Family Park House, Lodge for school/sports groups, 2 bedroom motels, Studio units with private bathrooms and kitchens. 1 & 2 bedroom cabins that use our amenities for bathroom & kitchen facilities. Camping, tents, caravan, campervans. Pet friendly with strict rules for owners. Free unlimited WIFI and BBQ's. Enjoy our salt water, heated, seasonal swimming pool and Spa Pools. Located in Otorohanga close to town facilities and the Kiwi House Native Bird Park. Walk to the Kiwiana playgound through the neighbouring Lake Reserve. Only 15 minute drive to Waitomo Caves.
top pick @owndesignnz

Orchard Valley, Waitomo Boutique Glamping

Nestled into the expansive Otorohanga countryside Orchard Valley provides a luxurious space to escape from everyday life. Our bespoke safari tent overlooks an orchard dotted with kiwifruit vines, allowing you to disconnect and detox from the outside world. Wake up and soak in the majestic sunrise from the deck while overlooking fields blanketed in green, and listen to the morning song of native birds. Our lavish offering is the ideal space for some seclusion and provides a chance to indulge yourself in the comforts of home, away from home. We invite you to sit back, relax and revel in our little slice of paradise.
top pick Hillside House

Hillside House Bed & Breakfast

Hillside House is set on the side of a hill over looking Otorohanga. Built in the 1930's with many original features but all modern facilities. Friendly and welcoming. Children welcome and cot available. Continental breakfast . Close to the The Kiwi House where you are able to see Kiwis at any time as well as many other native birds. Walking distance to Otorohanga know as the kiwiana town which has cafes and restaurants. A short drive away is the famous Waitomo Caves where you can enjoy the caves in many ways from black water rafting to relaxing rides in a boat in the glow worm caves. Otorohanga is a great place to stop off on a journey down the west side of the North Island and experience the wonderful King Country.