Destination Te Awamutu
How far to:
Hamilton: 30 kms, 30 mins
Waitomo: 45kms, 40 mins
Rotorua: 100km, 1.5 hours
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari
One of the most spectacular North Island attractions is Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari (Maungatautari Ecological Island Reserve), home to the largest ecological restoration project in New Zealand.
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is located on Maungatautari Mountain, an extinct volcano in the Waikato region. The mountain is surrounded by 47km of predator-proof fence to protect the native flora and fauna from any predators or pests. This has supported the reintroduction of some of New Zealand’s most extraordinary and most endangered wildlife.
Maungatautari Mountain is also home to some fantastic walking and hiking tracks, which are well planned and maintained. All the Maungatautari walks are graded depending on their difficulty, so walkers can choose to push themselves or take their time and enjoy the spectacular views.
The area has a rich history with several significant Waikato War sites, including one of the most famous at Ōrākau just outside Kihikihi. Te Ara Wai Journeys, a free self-guided tour of culturally significant sites throughout the Waipā district, offers a great way to explore places of local and national importance. A great place to start your journey or visit afterwards, Te Awamutu’s museum showcases the history of the area and houses Uenuku, an important taonga (treasure) of the Tainui people. More recent heritage is also on record with regularly changing displays.
Te Ara Wai Journeys
Te Ara Wai Journeys is a free self-guided tour of culturally significant sites throughout the Waipā district. Six different tours will take you on pathways through places of local and national importance, including natural landscapes, battle sites and early settlements in Waipā that formed the community and helped shape New Zealand.
Te Awamutu Museum
The Te Awamutu Museum was established in 1935 and has many exhibitions on the history of Te Awamutu and the wider Waikato region. It contains significant Taonga (treasures) from local Māori tribes, including Te Uenuku, a carved post known for its unique design. Te Awamutu Museum is also home to the Te Ara Wai Journeys gallery, a free self-guided tour of culturally significant sites throughout the Waipā district.
Walk around Lake Ngaroto or Lake Serpentine
Walking enthusiasts will enjoy the many walking trails on offer around the township, such as the Lake Ngaroto wetlands or Lake Serpentine.
Just a short 10 minute drive from Te Awamutu, you can find Lake Ngaroto, one of the largest peat lakes in the Waikato. This lake is one of the best places in the Waikato region to experience New Zealand’s natural wetland environment and the plants and animals that live there. Lake Ngaroto also offers lots of exciting activities for those who like outdoor sports, including yachting, canoeing and rowing.
Located south of Ohaupo between Hamilton and Te Awamutu, Lake Serpentine (Lake Rotopiko) offers two easy loop walks, each about 15 minutes on gentle terrain.
Alphra Lavender is a popular attraction, located only 8km south of Te Awamutu.
Open to the public from December to February on weekends only, the best time to visit the lavender farm is from early November, when the flowers are in bloom. People come from all over the world during this time to take in some of the prettiest views in the Waikato.
Walks around the lavender fields can be arranged, and tours give you the opportunity to learn about how the farm operates - from planting and harvesting to processing and product creation. Lavender products, made on the farm, are available to purchase from the gift shop.
Te Awamutu Rose Gardens
Te Awamutu’s spectacular Rose Gardens have earned the town the title of “Rosetown” of New Zealand.
Situated on Gorst Avenue, the Rose Gardens attract thousands of visitors every year. There are over 2,500 rose bushes, with more than 50 varieties. The flowers bloom from November to May, creating a kaleidoscope of colour.
Te Awamutu’s cinema, the Regent Theatre, is renowned throughout the country for being one of a very small number of high-quality provincial cinemas. The Theatre first opened on 12 March 1932 and in addition to an all-round movie experience, there is also an impressive collection of movie memorabilia lining walls and foyer, taking one back to the early days of New Zealand cinema.
Te Awamutu also boasts some great shopping options, with boutique clothing stores, antiques and more on offer. Te Awamutu cafes and bakeries are ideal for a lazy lunch such as the award-winning Viands Bakery in the street of Kihikihi. The summer farmer's markets provide the perfect opportunity to sample some of the locally grown produce and you can pick your own berries straight from the bush at one of the Blueberry farms from November to March.