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Waitomo

The most famous thing about Waitomo is the Caves. They are a major tourist attraction in New Zealand, and most visitors to this country wind up there at some point. That is, of course, because they are absolutely magnificent. With a small permanent population held up by the tourism to the caves, Waitomo is an interesting place to visit but once you’ve done your deeds, there is nothing else to do but watch grass grow.

Things to do in Waitomo If a bit of black water rafting and glow worming sounds like fun to you, then stop at Waitomo Caves. With all sorts of interesting activities here, this little New Zealand treasure is worth every cent you will spend to

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Waikato Towns

A summary of the Waikato towns

Matamata With 12,000 residents, Matamata is quite a large rural town at the base of the Kaimai Ranges, south of Hamilton. It is an important bloodstock region, and farming is the basis for its existence. It is, however, large enough to have regular events and a more than just floating social calendar. Matamata is thriving, as it has done for many years because there is no alternative.

Things to do in Matamata Hobbiton Movie Set Tours are interesting and fun for kids, and Wairere Falls are a nice place to stop off to take the obligatory photographs and ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’. Firth Tower Museum and the Opal Hot Springs are also places worth taking

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Te Aroha

A rural village and rest stop

Te Aroha is off the main tourist route which can be refreshing in itself and makes a good place for a holiday. This small quiet town on the northern side of the Waikato serves the local farming industry and has its own natural thermal pool.

It is unique in that it is situated at the foot of the Kaimai ranges, the bush clad hills rise directly from the edge of town where there are many walkways. Just leave your car in safety at your hotel and take to the hills.

Perhaps the best kept secret here is the natural hot soda thermal pool complex where you can rest your bones. There is a small

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Kawhia

The farming and fishing community is supported by Kawhia, (pronounced as “carfia“), a town of just 650 people on the west coast of New Zealand. Just over an hours drive from Hamilton, Kawhia is an attraction in itself, but is close to a few other beautiful places.

Tucked into a placid harbour, Kawhia is isolated, with a sleepy air about it. With long stretches of sandy beaches, rocky shores and hot springs, Kawhia is a diverse environment which caters to a wide range of human and wildlife activities. Most of all, it is a place to relax and unwind. Kawhia is the final spiritual resting place of Tainui, and the ancestral waka (canoe).

Things to do in Kawhia Sit in

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Huntly

A comfort stop before Auckland

This small coal-mining town 30km north of Hamilton was home to New Zealand’s biggest coal-fired power station (unsurprisingly!). This power station has been mothballed in favour of a large thermal power station . Operated by Genesis Energy, it is capable of supplying over 20% of the country’s current electricity needs

This small town is split up the middle by the Waikato River. There are open cast mines about 6km away, and underground mines a small distance away. The coal is mostly used to feed the power station. Lake Hakanoa is the main outdoor recreation area, with sports facilities and a boat club. There is also a shopping centre.

Things to do in Huntly

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Cambridge

Equine paradise

A satellite town of Hamilton, Cambridge provides an ‘out of the city’ experience with small town New Zealand warmth and all the benefits of living near a large centre. Cambridge is well loved by its residents, and charms visitors with its olde English appeal. It is also known as the “Town of Trees”, with the gorgeous huge oaks lining the streets.

Cambridge is well-known for being an active participant in the thoroughbred industry in New Zealand and horses are traded world wide.

Things to do in Cambridge Shopping and there are gardens and parks to admire and wander through. The Heritage Trail, with 25 historically significant sites, is a walk around central Cambridge. The Cambridge Museum

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Hamilton

A city on the plain

Situated on the banks of the Waikato river, Hamilton is one of the North Island larger cities and the commercial centre of the Waikato region. It covers the Waikato, Hauraki, Coromandel Peninsula, the northern King Country, much of the Taupo District, and parts of Rotorua District. It is governed by the Waikato Regional Council.

Hamilton is New Zealand’s third fastest growing New Zealand city with over 153,000 people people, and because of this it has an evolving personality. With farming as its community base, this is not a surprise. Farmers are not renowned for their fashion sense and individualism. It doesn’t have the big city feel, it is far more personal

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Matamata

The home of Middle Earth

Welcome to Bilbo Baggins Abode

Yes, this is where you’ll find Hobbiton. Just out of Hamilton, less than hours drive from Rotorua and a little over 2 hours from Auckland.

Located near the base of the Kaimai Ranges, Matamata is a thriving farming area better known for agriculture and in particular thoroughbred horse breeding and training.

It is part of Waikato’s Matamata-Piako District, and the towns of Morrinsville and Te Aroha.

A nearby farm was the location for the Hobbiton set in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. The New Zealand government decided to leave the Hobbit holes built on location as tourist attractions, since they

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Taupo

The Heart of the North

The Middle of the North Island is the central volcanic region of the North Island where the city of Taupo and the lake Taupo are situated about halfway between Auckland and Wellington with the town of Taupo lying to the north end of the lake and Turangi at the southern end with only a 45 minute drive between the two towns. The region is renowned for its fresh air, ski fields, pure waters, fresh fish and fun adventures. Further to the north lies Rotorua with its geothermal wonderland.

To the south lie the magnificent volcanoes Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe standing guard in the Tongariro National Park. The Park is New Zealand’s

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Mount Taranaki

A volcanic cone

The symmetrical cone of the dormant volcano “Mount Taranaki” is a provincial landmark, (formerly Mt Egmont). There are also two smaller surrounding volcanoes of an age ago, Kaitake and Pouaki.

The park comprises 33,534 hectares of forest and was established as a forest reserve in 1881 and a national park in 1900. It comprises all the land in a 9-kilometre radius of the Mount Taranaki summit and some outlying areas to the north.

The legends that go with the territory are as interesting as ever! It is said that Taranaki carved out the bed of the Whanganui River on a tragic flight from its ancestral home to the east.

Mt Taranaki is a very popular tourist destination

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