Travel west from Hamilton and head out to Raglan for an easy daytrip the whole family can enjoy.
You can experience the sun, surf and sand that the town is famous for, or you can bring along your wheels and cycle around the town with a different perspective.
Kids of all ages will have fun riding the new mountain bike trail - Te Ara Kakariki - or zooming around the BMX track at Te Kopua Domain. There are plenty of natural landscapes to explore, Bridal Veil Falls on the outskirts of the town, or Mount Karioi has lots of native bush to whet your appetite.
Speaking of appetites, the culinary offerings in Raglan satisfy even the pickiest of palates. Whether your requirements are organic, vegan, vegetarian or allergy-friendly, you’ll find a quirky café that suits your needs. One of the best ways to experience Raglan from a food perspective is to leave the picnic lunch at home and dine at the unique cafés and restaurants dotted throughout. Delectable food is available to purchase at almost every turn, and the fare is well-regarded amongst the gourmet elite.
Delectable delights await you in the Waikato district.
Culinary delights aren’t isolated to Raglan either as the rest of the Waikato district is a well-renowned international food bowl. Take a trip to Gordonton and you’ll find Zealong Tea Estate with outstanding views and mouth-watering morsels. A high tea at Zealong is a memory that will last a lifetime. Further north to Gordonton Village a myriad of delicious rustic farm-sourced ingredients provide you with an outstanding start to inspire your inner chef. The fresh produce and friendly locals may even give you a healthy addiction that keeps you coming back for more.
If you fancy an easy day cycle, Te Awa Cycleway is a great way to observe the Waikato River at your own pace. Breathing in the fresh country air is a great way to reconnect with nature. Riding north between Horotiu and Ngaruawahia is a safe, flat and fun riding option for families. If you’re feeling more energetic when you arrive at the home of Kiingitanga, a trip up the Hakarimata Summit Track will test your stamina and make you feel muscles you forgot you had.
The Hakarimata Ranges have a number of walks suitable for all abilities, including the challenging 1349 steps to the summit.
Once you’ve pushed your body to the limits, the perfect remedy for aching muscles is a jaunt to the Ngaruawahia pools for a soak or a nice leisurely ride back to Horotiu to help cool them down. Be sure to stop into the shops or even bring a picnic to the Ngaruawahia Domain and see where the Waipa and Waikato rivers converge. While you’re resting and refuelling, the kids can keep entertained at the local playground or skate park.
If you are intrigued by history, a museum voyage may peak your interest. Starting at Te Kowhai, you can travel north through Huntly, Rangiriri, Te Kauwhata, Mercer and Tuakau. These smaller museums offer an intimate and eye-opening experience to give you a greater understanding of the Waikato towns' tumultuous and colourful histories.
Bridal Veil Falls is a horsetail style waterfall near Raglan.
The best place for a convenience rest-stop is Pokeno, famous for its enormous icecreams and luscious bacon. If you’ like a tiki-tour, take the backroads through to Tuakau and view some of the most nutrient-rich fields in New Zealand that produce delights tasted worldwide.
The Waikato has it covered for the adrenalin junkies among you! Watch the dirt fly at Huntly Speedway or head to Hampton Downs for a fun-filled day of racing and challenge your friends to go-karts to see who reigns supreme. Continue up the Waikato Expressway to Meremere and be blown away by the drag racing. Refuel in Mercer before heading out to Mercer Airport on Koheroa Road. Here you can book in for an exhilirating skydive and view the Waikato from a birdseye perspective! Once you've recovered from the free-fall, you'll enjoy the panoramic view of Waikato's rolling green fields and hills while you sail safely to the ground.
Strap on a parachute and jump to your hearts content, sailing safely back to earth with GoSkydiveNZ.
If you fancy an overnight stay, Mercer Airport has backpackers' accommodation available (so if weather doesn't permit the jump on the day you book, you get another chance). There is a shuttle from Mercer Airport to Tuakau Hotel if luxury four star accommodation is your preference. There's plenty to see in the north Waikato, so make sure you take a daytrip - you could even turn it into an overnight stay!
The open Waikato district offers easy daytrips from Hamilton or Auckland and offers experiences unseen elsewhere in New Zealand. Why not pop out for a visit sometime soon?