Explore Waikato – Ten Waikato places to take mum this Mother’s Day


If you’re at a loss for what to give mum on Mother’s Day, why not explore your own backyard together.

From an adventure on two wheels with some stunning scenery, to a gourmet high tea in a rural setting, or some retail therapy – Waikato has plenty of great half and full day activities to spoil mum with this year. Check out this list with some suggestions to suit any mum’s taste – and get planning.

1. A gourmet picnic in her favourite garden at Hamilton Gardens
Book and collect a gourmet picnic basket from Hamilton Gardens Café to enjoy at your leisure anywhere on site at Hamilton Gardens.

Whether it be in the middle of the Tudor Garden, alongside some blooming roses in Rogers Rose Garden, in the Taj Mahal style structure at the Indian Char Bagh Garden or with some duckling friends at Turtle Lake, you’re sure to find a perfect place to take in the sights while enjoying your lunch.

2. Spend a day exploring the Bohemian town of Raglan
The West Coast town of Raglan makes for a fantastic day out. A walk along the boardwalk and footbridge, a delicious coffee and meal at one of the many cafes, or a selection of water activities including kayaking, canyoning, stand-up paddle boarding or surfing are just some of the activities you can fill the day with.

Top it all off with a sunset on the wharf with some fresh and tasty fish and chips – a must-do in Raglan.

3. Visit a destination café for a memorable meal in an idyllic setting
For a bite to eat, consider taking mum along to one of the many destination cafes around the region.  A short drive to The LilyPad Café near Cambridge is a great choice for a family friendly environment with a country feel.

With the Garden Art Studio on site and delicious breakfast, lunch and kids’ menu – The Lily Pad is a great choice for families. The Olde Creamery in Ohaupo is a peaceful escape in an historic rural setting.

With the alfresco or indoor dining, and shabby-chic gift shop, you can opt for a traditional Victorian-style high tea, or their seasonal menu for a day out. Not far from Hamilton city in Tamahere, The Strawberry Farm and Punnet Café is sure to delight.

With natural fruit ice cream, and a playground for the kids, as well as a healthy and delicious menu with stylish rustic décor in the licensed café.  

4. Get outdoors for a walk in the wilderness at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari
If mum is the outdoorsy type and likes to escape into nature, look no further than a visit to Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari near Te Awamutu.

The ancient forest and its many native inhabitants are protected by the predator-proof fence that runs the perimeter of the mountain.

Choose from a guided tour of the wetlands or forest, a combination of both, or a self-guided wander along the meandering paths to the overhead sound of the birds.

5. Treat her to some retail therapy
If mum is overdue for some retail therapy, treat her to a tiki tour to Tirau. The quaint South Waikato town is most well-known for its corrugated iron dog, sheep and ram structures, but is also a popular shopping destination for visitors and locals alike.

The main road has an extensive range of antique and gift stores, a fabulous clock shop, boutique fashion and funky art and craft stores. For a more central shopping splurge, you can’t look past Te Awa The Base for a bite to eat, visit to the playground and bountiful options for shopping.
6. Chasing waterfalls
Mum will love an afternoon of waterfall exploring; whether it be a short wander or a full on hike, you’ll find a stunning waterfall in most directions from Hamilton City.

Raglan’s Bridal Veil Falls is a short 15 minute walk, while Wairere Falls near Matamata, the tallest in the North Island is a popular track with vista views, and Marokopa Falls near Waitomo will blow you away with its size and volume.

7. Sample a slice of the high life with high tea at Zealong Tea Estate
If mum likes the finer things in life, a visit to Zealong Tea Estate in Gordonton is a must. New Zealand’s only tea estate, Zealong produces the purest Oolong tea in the world.

With guided tours of the estate, their signature high tea, or a combination of both, mum will love discovering the rich culture and history of this unique attraction.

The high tea includes beautifully presented tea-inspired sweet and savoury delicacies with locally-sourced ingredients, as does the full restaurant menu.

8. Soak in the healing waters of Te Aroha Mineral Spas
For an indulgent getaway where mum can enjoy some pampering, send her to the Edwardian spa town of Te Aroha. Located beneath Mount Te Aroha in the Hot Springs Domain you’ll discover the world’s only hot soda water geyser, and the Te Aroha Mineral Spas offering luxurious massage and beauty treatments or a soak in the famous mineral spas – a great way to relax

9. Take your artsy mum gallery hopping
The arts are alive in Hamilton and Waikato with a vibrant mix of large and boutique galleries around the region. From Waikato Museum and ArtsPost in the heart of Hamilton City, Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville or Tony Sly Pottery in Raglan to Inspirit Gallery in Tamahere and Heritage Gallery in Cambridge, there are plenty of spots where mum can find the perfect piece for that wall, garden or mantelpiece. Or just enjoy the experience along the way.

10. Head underground in Waitomo
For the more adventurous mothers, Waitomo is the perfect underground playground to explore.
From high energy black water rafting, ziplining and abseiling, to gentle walking tours or boat rides under galaxies of glowworms, the whole family will love exploring Waitomo.

It’s also home to a number of great walking tracks including the popular Mangapohue Natural Bridge and Ruakuri Cave Walk, as well as top cafes like HUHU Café, Waitomo Homestead and Roselands Waitomo Caves.

For more information on these and the many other things to see and do for Mother’s Day (and beyond) in the Hamilton and Waikato region, visit www.hamiltonwaikato.com


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