Family Fun for over 8’s
Kids big and small will enjoy getting out more in the Mighty Waikato. From Troll Caves, underground adventures, walks, cycle parks and trails through to glowworm and middle earth magic, family time in Waikato will long be remembered by all. Have a look at some of these ideas, and when you visit the Mighty Waikato with your family try something new.
Visiting the caves in Waitomo are a must-do activity; a million years in the making, they are like nowhere else on earth. Weird and wonderful stalactites and stalagmites decorate the interior of Ruakuri Cave and a gentle boat ride through Waitomo Glowworm Cave will take you under magnificent skies of glowworms.
Above ground, families can also enjoy the Troll Cave, a cave tour designed specifically with children in mind, and great for all ages.
The Waikato region is home to plenty of family-friendly walks, the Mangapohue Natural Bridge in Waitomo is an easy walk, perfect for a weekend outing and offers a glimpse into the areas past with 25 million year old fossilised oysters that are exposed in the limestone outcrops.
At 35m high, the Marokopa Falls are said to be one of the most beautiful in the country and are well worth the visit. The easy 20 minute return walk passes through native tawa and nikau forest to reach the viewing platform for the falls.
Explore the Waikato by bike and cycle the Waikato River Trails. From native forest and birdlife to hydro dams, suspension bridges and exhilarating downhills, there’s plenty for mountain bikers to enjoy.
If caves are not your thing, then take the opportunity to see glowworms from the water – this time by kayak! Head along to Lake District Adventures and explore the Waikato River and Lake Karapiro on a relaxed kayak tour at dusk.
Also talk to them about the Waikato River Trails – they can help with transfers, bike hire and even a guide!
Take some time to get out and discover this stunning Conservation masterstoke in action. Not only a wonderful place to visit, the story of it’s evolution and the engineering of the pest proof fence is fascinating – even the kids will find it interesting!
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari offers picturesque easy walking trails through ancient native forest, with a variety of friendly birdlife to spot. Look out for the cheeky Kaka who is bound to lead you down the well maintained paths. The largest inland ecological island in NZ, Sanctuary Mountain is also home to Tuataru in a wonderful natural enclosure that you can book to visit, and boasts a canopy viewing tower for a birds-eye-view of the forest in its Southern Enclosure.
Middle-earth movie magic can be found in the lush green countryside near Matamata, where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies were filmed. Future generations will be inspired on a guided tour of Hobbiton Movie Set where you can see the hobbit holes tucked into the hillside and learn about a significant part of New Zealand’s film history.