5 Things to Explore in Ngāruawāhia in 2022

5 Things to Explore in Ngāruawāhia in 2022

At the base of the Hākarimata Range, you’ll find our beautiful riverside town. Surrounded by countryside and stunning natural scenery, Ngāruawāhia can sometimes be overlooked by visitors to Waikato. But although we’re not as big as nearby Hamilton, we’re bountiful in our own right – and definitely worth exploring.

Here, we’ve detailed our favourite hidden gems in Ngāruawāhia – including, of course, a trip to Durham Precinct – so you can soak up all our wonderful town has to offer.

1.     First, cycle along the Waikato River

The Waipā River ends its journey in Ngāruawāhia, where it flows into Aotearoa’s longest river – the Waikato. It’s along the Waikato River that you can embark on Te Awa’s ‘The Great New Zealand River Ride’ – a fittingly-named path that follows the course of the mighty river from Ngāruawāhia all the way to the Lake Karapiro reservoir. The route is 70 kilometres long, but how far you travel is up to you. E-bikes and push bikes can be hired from River Riders.

2.     Then refuel at Durham Precinct 

For a hearty meal

From juicy burgers to fruity smoothies and refreshing pints, Durham Precinct has a host of delicious eateries to stop in on for lunch or dinner. All locally owned and operated, the folks at these fuel stops always provide service with a big smile.

If you’re after a hearty meal, Phat Pattie has a jam-packed menu loaded with burger options; whether you’re wanting a more traditional fix (grab the Phat Mac – a beef patty meets lettuce, cheddar cheese, onions, pickles and tangy sauce), a vegetarian variety (opt for the Phat Kumes – the kumara patty pairs perfectly with swiss cheese, lettuce, red onions, rocket and yoghurt), or a keto-friendly option (they have keto buns!), Phat Pattie will satisfy all your burger cravings.

Another filling choice is Wingin’ It – an eatery with a passion for all things chicken schnitzel and wings. They’ve joined forces with cakery and dessert bar Piece of Cake, which means you can grab your moreish chicken (on its own, in a bao, salad, wrap, rice bowl or loaded on fries) and top it off with a gooey ambrosia, fluffy carrot cake or glazed donut (to name just a few of Piece of Cake’s creations!).

For a snack or a pint....

For a lighter pick-me-up and a good coffee, Sister Six cafe is the spot. Refreshing, fruit-filled smoothies and nourishing protein shakes are on offer alongside freshly-roasted Raglan Roast coffee. But if it’s simply a good beer or a cooling soda you’re looking for, The Summit is the place to sit back with a pint and put your feet up. Grab a locally-brewed Good George beer, a Phoenix soda or a Mills Reef vino – you deserve a breather, and its open from 4pm.

3.     Get taken on a walking tour

There’s nothing quite like a tour by a local to get the feel for a place. Ngāruawāhia resident Matutaera Herangi has a deep love for his home and is passionate about sharing the history of the area. Starting on February 20, 2022, Te Puna Wai Tours will offer guided walking tours through Ngāruawāhia; the 90 minute walks will set off from Kīngitanga Reserve, near Durham Precinct, and Matutaera will talk participants through the long history of the land. With his family having lived in the town for generations, Matutaera has a wealth of knowledge about land wars and confiscations, the history of Tūrangawaewae Marae and the Kīngitanga (Māori king movement).

4.     Or head to the Hākarimata Range

The Hākarimata Range is the crown jewel of our town. Native forest is abundant here, with nearly 5000 acres of it protected as a scenic reserve. There’s a range of walks to suit many fitness levels; if you’re after a gentle stroll, the Kauri Loop Track is a two hour, three kilometre trail that provides wonderful views of the northern Waikato lakes and Huntly township. If you’d prefer a more rigorous stroll, walk the Hākarimata Rail Trail; once you’ve walked the length, you can connect with the Hākarimata Summit Trail, where you’ll be able to head to the summit tower for stunning views across the Waikato Basin. For more detailed directions and options to get back to your starting point, head here.

5.     Don’t forget Ngāruawāhia’s creative talent

Need a gift for a loved one? Or perhaps a little treat for yourself? Hākarimata Boutique is a beautiful boutique, brimming with locally-sourced and made objects. Hand-blown glass, handcrafted, artisan soap, taonga and woven harakeke creations (to name just a few things!) fill the shop floor and owner Suzanne is always keen to tell visitors more about the precious items she sells. The shop is situated inside the historic cobbler cottage – a great slice of history.

Durham Precinct is located at 2/8 Durham Street, Ngāruawāhia. For opening hours, check with the merchant you’re hoping to visit. All details can be found at durhamprecinct.co.nz


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