What to Do in Cambridge: The One in New Zealand
Experience old English charm in the heart of the Waikato in the town of Cambridge. This small town full of boutique and quirky cafes might be close to one of New Zealand’s most bustling cities, Hamilton, but feels like a world away. While the buildings and the town name might take its influence from England, the New Zealand countryside is where it gets its Kiwi qualities, with a wealth of farm tours in the area to experience for yourself. Cambridge is also the self-proclaimed “Cycling Central” of New Zealand with a myriad of cycling and mountain biking trails – a must-do the outdoors enthusiast. Find out more things to do in Cambridge in the list below!
1. Take on One of the Many Cycle Trails
Well, in the town dubbed “Cycling Central” it would almost be a crime to not hire and bike and hit one of the many trails! There’s a track for everyone, ranging from the 34km (21-mile) grade 1 Kaipaki Mystery Creek to the 95km (59-mile) grade 4 Hobbiton Movie Set trail. One of the most popular trails is the Te Awa Ride, which you can find out more about in our bike guide to the Waikato region. Bike rentals, shuttles and trail maps are available in abundance in town.
Location: All around Cambridge
2. See the Wildlife at Sanctuary Mount Maungatautari
Delve down the walking trails in the ancient forests of Mount Maungatautari, a bird haven protected by a predator-proof fence. At Sanctuary Mount Maungatautari, there’s the option to take a guided tour to a takahe and tuatara enclosure, giving you the unique opportunity to get up-close to some of New Zealand’s rarest wildlife. Find out more about the sanctuary on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Tari Road, 38km (24 miles) south of Cambridge
3. Enjoy the Shopping and Cafes in Town
Cambridge offers an alternative boutique shopping experience in comparison to the neighbouring city of Hamilton. You’ll find chic cafes, photo-worthy heritage buildings, gift stores and art galleries.
Location: Cambridge town centre
4. Do a Kayak Tour on Lake Karapiro
Either hire a kayak or stand-up paddleboard to explore Lake Karapiro during the day with one of the many hire companies on the lake. Alternatively, join a tour with Lake District Adventures after dark for a glowworm kayaking adventure. The tour starts with a trip down the majestic Pokaiwhenua Stream – a stunning photo opportunity during the day. When night falls, the stream lights up with glowworms. Find out more about the tour on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Horahora Road, 26km (16 miles) south of Cambridge
5. Check Out the Cambridge Farmers’ Market
Get the real Kiwi experience by going to one of the country’s farmers’ markets! The Cambridge Farmers’ Market is definitely a fantastic option so that you can sample local produce. Try local coffee, meat, fruit and veg, as well as baked goods, preserves and ready-to-eat meals. The market is on every Saturday, 8am-12pm.
Location: Victoria Square
6. Pick Your Own Blueberries
With a cafe and orchard shop open year-round, Monavale Blueberries makes a great destination for some timeout in the countryside. Between October and March, the orchard is also open for tours, as well as pick-your-own blueberries!
Location: Turkington Road, 11km (7 miles) east of Cambridge
7. Visit the Cambridge Museum
Get your history fix at the impressive Cambridge Museum. The museum has multiple exhibitions focussing on local heroes, early pioneering relics and early Cambridge photos. The museum is set in attractive gardens and is open daily. Entry is free.
Location: 24 VictoriaStreet
8. Do a Farm Tour
Venture into the rural regions around Cambridge and learn about the Kiwi farming lifestyle at one of the many farm tours in the area. Follow the story from pasture to the milk factory in the Cambridge Dairy Farm Tour or learn about breeding the best deer for the market at the Cambridge Deer Stud Tour. Finally, get a great insight into the town’s long-standing history of thoroughbred horse racing at the Waikato Thoroughbred Stud Tours.
Location: All around Cambridge.
9. Jump on a Jet Boat Tour
Experience speed and 360-degree spins on a thrilling jet boat tour with Camjet. This 45-minute jet boat tour takes you past native bush and pristine scenery along New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato River, to the Karapiro Dam. Find out more about Camjet on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Riverside Park, Dominion Avenue
10. Visit Te Awamutu
Cambridge’s nearby small town, Te Awamutu, is known as the “Town of Roses”. It has its own quirks and charms including a museum, rose gardens and several nearby wetland-walks rich in wildlife. Get inspired with our 5 Fun Things to Do in Te Awamutu.
Location: 25km (15.5 miles) southeast of Cambridge