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Spotlight On…Te Aroha

The Edwardian spa town of Te Aroha sits at the base of Mount Te Aroha, which is the tallest peak in the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park.

Established in the late 1870s, Te Aroha flourished from 1880, when gold was discovered locally. The boom was brief, but the hot springs at the foot of the mountain made the settlement prosperous.

Mokena Hau, a Ngāti Rāhiri chief, gifted the springs to the government. Te Aroha subsequently developed as a spa town from 1883, attracting thousands of visitors, especially following completion of the railway link from Hamilton in 1886.

The popularity of the township waned from the 1930s, but the hot pools were modernised during the late 20th century. Today, the town remains the centre of a farming district.

The nearby Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park covers 37,000 hectares. The Kaimai Range, the central feature of the park, divides Waikato from the Bay of Plenty. Of volcanic origin, it has many valleys and is mostly forested, with summits between about 550 and 950 metres.

The Waihou River meanders along the base of the Mamaku and Kaimai Ranges, flowing through Te Aroha north to the Firth of Thames. From the 1880s boats brought visitors from Auckland up the river to ‘take the waters’ at Te Aroha. The Waihou remained a transport route until the late 1940s, when it became clogged by willows.


Whether it's short walks, mineral spas, or mouth watering food to keep you going, Te Aroha offers plenty of opportunities to hop off the bike and make the most of your ride. With this in mind, we've put together a spotlight on the township, which includes places of interest and great spots to fill up hungry tummies. 


Photo: Te Aroha Township.


See & Do

Whether you're cycling from Paeroa or Matamata, it's a laid back ride under the gaze of Mount Te Aroha (‘the Mountain of Love’) with views of the Kaimai Ranges to the township of Te Aroha.  This small and rural town has a lovely Domain, and is home to some great walkways, quirky art and cafes.

Tack on one of the walks or rides from Te Aroha Domain for some extra off-trail fun. The Mokena Geyser Walk is just a short 80m, with other options varying in length. The Tui Domain Track at 5.5km is the longest, and there are further mountain bike trails too. 

Hiking tracks that go up Mount Te Aroha begin in the Domain and it takes about 3 hours to reach the summit, with the shorter trails available around the base of the mountain. All of the walks and tracks are listed on signage at the Domain, along with a map.


Local Sculptor Adrian Worsley designs and constructs unique and original sculptures entirely from recycled materials from his studio in Te Aroha. Works feature a clever blend of materials and finishes, breathing new life into the inanimate objects around him.

Adrian’s series of Bike Rack sculptures which combine functionality with art can be found prominently displayed in Te Aroha’s main street. Throughout the town, closer inspection reveals signs of Adrian’s artistic flair including a special fit out for the Ironique Cafe.

There is also penny farthing sculpture installed at the Te Aroha Railway Station. Furnishing the town with a series of sculptures functioning as bicycle racks and a drinking fountain, forms an on-going promotion of an Arts trail through Te Aroha to Te Aroha West. 

Another iconic sculpture is the Dachshund Bike Stand, which can be viewed outside the Palace Hotel in the centre of Te Aroha.  


Photo credit: Daschund water fountain and bike rack by local artist Adrian Worsley.


If you're a lover of all things rock and roll, make sure a visit to Rockabilly is on your list. With 10 years in the business, owner Judy Williams is the go-to for Modern Vintage, Rockabilly, Pinup and Kustom Kulture fashion and footwear. You can purchase in-store or online.

Judy was born and raised in Te Aroha, and is a regular stall holder at annual events. You'll also find her at Beach Hop Whangamata, Americana New Plymouth and Motorama Morrinsville.


Photo: Judy Williams, owner of Rockabilly


Servicing Te Aroha and surrounds since 1990 is Williams Furniture & Hardware. It's one of those places where good service never goes out of fashion. Owner/Operators Lisette & Andrew Hight are currently at the helm of the family run business since 1990.

Whatever you may be looking for, the store has an abundance of hardware, kitchenware, beds and furniture, manchester, paint supplies, gardening supplies, tools, nut and bolts and more!


Photo: Lisette & Andrew outside the premises at 115-117 Whitaker Street, Te Aroha.


Whether you're shopping for yourself or friends and family, Addictions Boutique Gifts & Clothing Specialist is a treasure trove of unique ranges sourced from Melbourne, Australia. Owner/Operator Kylie Hayes-Morgan has showcased her creativity here for the past 15 years. 

Enusre you have plenty of time up your sleeve for your visit to the store located at 195 Whitaker Street, Te Aroha. Kylie also has an outlet at 92 Normanby Road, Paeroa.


Photo: Addictions Boutique Gifts & Clothing Specialist


When you’re ready to relax, nestled in the beautiful domain at the foot of Mount Te Aroha is the Te Aroha Mineral Spas.  Renowned for their healing properties since the 1800’s, it’s the perfect way to soothe tired muscles and unwind after a days riding. Fun in the heated pools for the kids at neighbouring Swimzone is also guaranteed. Hire the BBQ, relax and unwind, it’s a great place to end the day.

Stop off before, during or after your ride at the lovely historic Domain Cottage Cafe nestled under the mountain. It's also perfectly located after a visit to the Te Aroha Museum or Te Aroha Art Centre & Domain Gallery, all located in the grounds of the Te Aroha Domain.


Photo: Te Aroha Mineral Spas.


Places to eat and drink

Throughout the town, keep an eye out for Adrian’s artistic flair which also includes a special fit out for the Ironique Cafe. Open 7 days a week (8.00am-3.00pm except Friday and Saturday’s 8.00am-8.00pm) they are open for brunch and dinner, serving freshly prepared and innovative options which cater for everyone.

It's been a family owned business for over 25 years, and currently owned by Shelley and Bevan Hughes. You can find the team at 159 Whitaker Street, Te Aroha.


Photo: Ironique's General Manager, Fiona Patterson.


If you're planning to Barbeque or self-cater, a visit to Best Meats is an absolute must! The family owned business has been operating for 45 years, and they are well known for their award winning sausages, ham and bacon. 


Photo: Owner/Operator Kerry Dufty of Best Meats can be found at 143 Whitaker Street, Te Aroha.


The Duck & Cover Bar and Grill has a fully-licensed bar, with Guinness on tap, and both indoor and outdoor seating options. The private dining area is perfect for family gatherings, and the friendly staff able to cater to your specific requests.

The crew cater for a variety of allergy needs, with numerous gluten free options available on their standard menu. Free Wi-Fi is available for customers, and be sure to keep an eye out for our regular events, including live music.


Photo: The friendly staff can be found at 174 Whitaker Street, Te Aroha. You can find more information and opening hours here.


The Old Forge Kitchen in Te Aroha West takes its name from the history of the site and will set you up for the day. The 120 seat cafe/restaurant is open 7 days from 7am - 3pm. A full selection of cabinet food, brunch and lunch menus, and great coffee is available, and there's plenty of parking for cars and bikes.


Photo: Local artist Adrian Worsley's creativity lands in Te Aroha West beside the Old Forge Café. It seemed fitting for Adrian to create seating and bike racks in the form of a large forge, to complement the nearby business.


Alternatively, if you're riding further, Café 77 is situated right on the Trail half way between Te Aroha and Matamata, in what was once the old derelict Manawaru Dairy Factory. Welcoming cyclists not only for great food, coffee and drinks, there’s also a wide range of bike racks, an air compressor and bike tool kits to keep you comfortable on your journey. 

There’s free Wi-fi and plenty of off-road vehicle parking to use as the start or end point to your day on the Trail. Within the lovely landscaped grounds there is also a Motorhome and Caravan Park if you're looking for somewhere to stay.


Places to stay

With Studios, Cottages, Motels, Bed & Breakfast, Lodges and Holiday Parks to choose from, there are plenty of options for all budgets to overnight in Te Aroha.

Te Aroha Accommodation Central comprises of four executive properties just 20 metres from the Hauraki Rail Trail and a short two minutes stroll to the CBD. Choose from the new purpose built executive holiday home, modern townhouse, custom designed holiday home, or two River Chalets.


Photo: Te Aroha Accommodation Central.


The family friendly Te Aroha Holiday Park offers a unique country camping experience in one of New Zealand’s few remaining traditional holiday parks in the Waikato. Set in beautiful rural settings, surrounded by dairy farms and views of Mount Te Aroha, there are plenty of biking and tramping tracks.  

Guests can choose from camping, cabins, cottages and tourist flats - motel style flats ideal for families. There are also tent and campervan sites, an adventure playground, mineral hot pool, hydro spa, and swimming pool. Please note the Te Aroha Holiday Park is located 4km south of Te Aroha at 217 Stanley Road South.

If you're adventuring in a Motorhome, the Te Aroha NZMCA Motorhome Park is a good option, and located at 38 Stanley Ave, Te Aroha.  The Park has a 65 Motorhome Capacity, and the Member Site ID number is 1358.

At Cafe 77 a little further out at Manawaru, there is plenty of off-road vehicle parking for cyclists to use as the start or end point to their day on the Trail. The on-site event centre Community View is available for group gatherings, complete with a climbing wall for the adventurous, and within the lovely landscaped grounds there is a Motorhome and Caravan Park. The Park only suits self contained units, as there are no powered sites, toilets or water. The Park is dog friendly, and so guests are welcome to bring their four legged friends.

The Old Church at Manawaru is an excellent option for visitors looking to adventure on the Te Aroha to Matamata section of the Hauraki Rail Trail. Originally a Catholic Church built in 1954, the building was purchased in 1996 and converted into a beautiful home including a private guest suite.

The boutique accommodation is located right on the Hauraki Rail Trail opposite the popular Café 77, and the suite can accommodate up to four people.


Photo: The Old Church at Manawaru.


2024 Events in Te Aroha

NZMCA National Rally at Boyd Park, Te Aroha 09 – 13 March. 

Sun 12 March – A Day at the Domain - A Day at the Domain is a fun and affordable family day out in the beautiful, historic Te Aroha Domain. With free entry and entertainment throughout the day, local crafters and artisans, coffee, ice cream and food trucks, there is something to delight young and old and everyone in between.
Sat 5 October – Aroha Cruise In  -  Aroha Twilight Cruise In is held on the first Saturday in October, a show of hot rods, classic cars, and interesting vehicles, on the streets of Te Aroha. Live bands, family entertainment, street performers, food festival and a laser light show to wrap up the night.

Te Aroha’s Country Market – 3rd Sunday of the month at Mangaiti Hall 


You can find all Official Partner businesses for Section D below



Dine & Drink

See & Do

Tour Services


Te Aroha i-SITE - 102 Whitaker Street, Te Aroha, New Zealand.  Ph: 07 884 8052   Email: TinfoCentre@mpdc.govt.nz


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