Things to do in Te Aroha

Built on the lower foothills of Mount Te Aroha in the northeast of the Waikato region, the settlement of Te Aroha has a proud history as a gold mining boom-town and spa resort. The town’s identity is founded around its heritage, and you’ll find no shortage of things to do in Te Aroha, from exciting mountain adventures to historic journeys and thermal spas.

Te Aroha spas

Te aroha mineral spa, Te Aroha, Waikato, NZ

The hot water mineral springs that flow from under Mt Te Aroha have been visited for their therapeutic properties since the first people arrived in the area. In the late 19th century, the town was the most popular spa resort in the country.

Today, there are no shortage of top-quality spa options on offer. Te Aroha Mineral Spas private spas, including traditional wooden tubs or porcelain baths, and massage therapy options make relaxation easy, while the Te Aroha Leisure Pools is a great family option.

There is also a foot pool in the domain for free public use.

Te Aroha walking and cycling trails

Hauraki Rail Trail cycling trail, Te Aroha, NZ

Hauraki Rail Trail

The Hauraki Rail Trail is one of the finest North Island attractions for cycling enthusiasts. The trail follows two historic rail lines and extends from Thames at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula to Te Aroha, taking in the magnificent Karangahake Gorge along the way. A soak in the Te Aroha hot pools is the perfect way to relax after finishing the trail, and the town also provides excellent Hauraki Rail Trail accommodation and dining options.

The 10km purpose-built mountain biking track on Mt Te Aroha is another popular option for bike lovers. The track includes stream crossings, a mixture of bush and open grassland riding, and astounding views of the Hauraki Plains and the Waikato region. 

If you prefer to explore on foot, there are plenty of options. Walks in the area include trails on Mt Te Aroha and tracks taking in wetland nature reserves, mining ruins such as those found in the popular Waiorongomai Vallery, and the Te Aroha Domain. Many of the walks start from the landmark Mokena Geyser, named after Maori chief Mokena Hou, who donated the land for the domain. The geyser’s water is naturally carbonated underground, making it the world’s only hot soda water geyser.

Te Aroha Heritage Trail

Te Aroha shows great reverence for its heritage as a mining boom-town and popular spa resort, making for some fascinating Waikato walks. Beautiful Victorian and Edwardian bathhouses in the domain mark the start of the town’s heritage trail. On the trail, you’ll find everything from preserved miners’ cottages to the oldest pipe organ in the Southern Hemisphere - built for Queen Anne in 1712 and brought to New Zealand in 1927.

Te Aroha shopping & dining

Te Aroha is known for antique stores and has also attracted its fair share of artists. Try Red Tui Art for ceramic artworks, or visit the showroom of Raewyn Penrose – one of New Zealand’s foremost creators of merino-based fashion garments.

Te Aroha, New Zealand

Te Aroha Town

Another well-known artist is Adrian Worsley, who has found inspiration from yesteryear in his sculpting business Historic Creations. One-off sculptures of classic bikes, knights, farmers and dragons intricately made out of scrap metal adorn his workshop, and any commission is sure to be a standout piece. Tours of Adrian Worsley’s gallery are also available.

Hand in hand with Te Aroha’s electric range of shops and stores are its cafes and eateries. From gourmet fare in quirky cafes and wine bars such as Ironique, Berlusconi and Banco to Simply Blue’s New York style deli and artisan sausages at Franks Sausages, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes.

Te Aroha golf

If golf is your thing then don’t miss the chance to practice your swing at Te Aroha Golf Club. The club has a reputation for friendliness, and the 18 hole course offers sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.

Te Aroha Accommodation

It’s easy to make a weekend of it in Te Aroha, with great accommodation options available. With everything from holiday parks to B&B’s, lodges and riverside motels, there is a variety of accommodation in Te Aroha to suit everyone.

Te Aroha and District Museum

Housed in the historic Cadman Bath House, in the Te Aroha Domain, the Te Aroha and District Museum provides a nostalgic walk down memory lane. Showcasing the history of the area, the museum boasts local artifacts, films and archives of gold mining, flax mills, farming and spa history.