Things to do in Cambridge

Cambridge, New Zealand is home to two of the country's most beautiful waterways – the Waikato River and Lake Karapiro. The township is known for its charming cafes and antique shopping and is also a great place for active pursuits such as walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing, kayaking, rowing and sailing. Some of New Zealand’s greatest athletes hail from Cambridge, Waikato, including Sarah Ulmer and Rob Waddell, among many others.

Antiques & shopping in Cambridge

Cambridge’s antique shops provide an opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy and explore local history. Whether it’s ceramics, art, silver, gold or something a little out of the ordinary you can be sure to find it in Cambridge. The area has a rich pioneering history with many international influences, which makes for a diverse selection of antique wares.

Cambridge Artisan cafes & eateries

Cafes, Cambridge, New Zealand

Cafe dining in Cambridge

Cafes & restaurants in Cambridge are known for their fantastic coffee and delicious food. Take some time out from your busy day and enjoy fresh local produce at some of the charismatic eateries in the centre of town – from gastro-pubs, cafes and delis to gelato stands and gourmet food-trucks.

Establishments in the rural outskirts of Cambridge are also sure to delight. The Red Cherry Cafe on the corner of Forrest Rd and State Highway 1 roast their own beans and offer caffeine fixes for weary travellers. The nearby Lily Pad Café on Kapaki Rd is a great destination for lunch. Grab a bite to eat and wander through the neighbouring Garden Art Studio. Another top spot is Monavale Blueberries, to the south-west of Cambridge. This organic blueberry orchard has a great café and retail store on-site and lets you pick your own berries (in season) to take away with you.

Cambridge Walk of Fame

Take a stroll through the city centre for a glance at the people and horses that have put Cambridge on the map. Twenty-five plaques honouring the achievements of local stars line the footpaths of Duke St on the town’s ‘Sporting Walk of Fame’. Nearby Victoria St has mosaics of 18 prominent local horses set into the footpath and a collection of plaques honouring Cambridge’s 13 Melbourne Cup winning horses. The Walk of Fame is a great example of the characterful heritage trails and walking tracks Waikato is known for.
Location: Duke Street and Victoria Street, Cambridge

Cycle Trails in Cambridge

Cambridge is widely regarded as New Zealand’s home of cycling. Whether peddling over hillsides, whizzing round the national velodrome (Avanitdrome) or checking out the sights of the Waikato region’s rural plains, the area has a ride to suit everyone.

Te Awa, The Great NZ River Ride Karapiro Section, Karapiro, NZ

Te Awa River Ride

There are few better places for cycling than the banks of the Waikato River. From native forest and birdlife to hydro dams, suspension bridges and exhilarating downhills, the Waikato River Trails offer plenty for keen mountain bikers and off-road cyclists to enjoy. The journey takes in five lakes, four hydro dams and a number of small towns and villages, showcasing some of the best of the Waikato heartland.

Te Miro Mountain Bike Park, 20 minutes north-east of Cambridge, is another mountain biking facility in the Waikato that’s growing in popularity. Built by a local mountain biking club for the enjoyment of their members and other like-minded individuals, Te Miro Mountain Bike Park offers a variety of terrain and tracks to suit active families as well as hard-core riders.

Those after a more relaxed pace should try Te Awa – The Great New Zealand River Ride. This scenic 70km river ride is under construction between Ngaruawahia and Lake Karapiro and looks set to become one of the great North Island attractions. The route weaves through rural and urban landscapes, taking in waterfalls and historic Maori sites as well as trendy shops, cafes and wineries. The currently open section between Cambridge and Lake Karapiro has a wide, smooth track and largely flat route, making Te Awa suitable for cyclists of all fitness and experience levels.

Cambridge also boasts great BMX riding, with the BMX National Championships being held here in 2013. The Cambridge BMX Club track is among the best in NZ and includes a pro and amateur track.

Jet boat rides in Cambridge

CamJet Jetboat Tours, Cambridge NZ

Jet boat tours, Cambridge

Those looking for one of the more adrenalin-pumping things to do in Cambridge shouldn’t miss a Camjet jet boat ride on the Waikato River. The departure point is just a short walk from Cambridge town centre. Experience high speed slides and spins on the ’thrill trip’ or try the scenic trip’ for a more relaxed river experience.

Kayaking & water sports on Lake Karapiro

Home to Rowing New Zealand, Lake Karapiro is the perfect spot for water activities. The calm conditions that brought the World Rowing Championships to New Zealand in 2010 are also ideal for water sport enthusiasts looking to flex their muscles or do a spot of sightseeing.
Kayak and stand-up paddleboard hire is available from nearby businesses and other water activities that are popular on the lake include canoeing, jet skiing, water skiing and of course rowing.