Te Aroha is maybe not the most famous place in New Zealand but it deserves to be known a bit better. So I ended it up to this town because I found a job to spend my first month of my working visa. It’s a bit difficult to go around without a car but I have always managed to find a way to explore the area. So here, I will give you a non-exhaustive list of what you can do.
Climb mount Te Aroha
I had the view of the mountain every day so the temptation was too big to not climb it. So I did it. The walk takes usually around 4hours to go up and come back. But for me, it happened to be a bit compromised. Indeed, I started walking. I stopped at the lookout of the town, which is about 35-40minutes walk. The weather was not great, it was grey but I kept going. And while I was not so far from the summit, the rain had started and the thunder rumbled. So I decided to go back because the path was really steep and I was alone without a phone. .. But from what people told me, on a clear day you can see the sea and also the Mount Maunganui, situated on the East near Tauranga.
Small tip after climbing the mountain, go to the foot pools! Those hot water are made of Natural Soda Water and it is really nice to relax your foot.
Situated at the entrance of the town, the walk goes around a small lake in the wetland. You would not expect such a park in this area. And it has a beautiful view of the mount Te Aroha.
The visit of the area
Waiorongomai, Gold mine trails
Waiorongomai Valley is situated in the Mountains that overlook Te Aroha. The mountain offers different trails. I did the “Low-level track” which includes the “Piako County Tramway”. The first one offers an amazing view of the Valley as well as the area around Te Aroha. The second offers you to walk along the rail with on it some old piece of wagons.
This walk also shows the importance that New Zealand has to protect its environment. For example, there were signs asking to clean the shoes to remove the soil that could bring diseases to the forest!
Karangahake is situated around 20 km north of Te Aroha. Once there, you will also have the choice of different walks. We picked the” Rail Tunnel Loop” that goes alongside the old rail and which also goes under a 1km railway tunnel. The scenery is really nice as it is in between two mountains with a river passing through. I really enjoyed the walk because it gives you the opportunity to explore a bit of the cave situated in the mountains.
The falls are situated 20 km south of Te Aroha and they are the highest falls on the North Island with 153metres. The walk to reach the summit is about 1h and a half and the lookout is situated 45 minutes but as the path is really steep, it actually takes longer.
The town is situated between Hamilton and Te Aroha and it has the particularity to have around 42 sculptures of cows which are located all around the town. Why Cows? Because Waikato is where you will find the biggest production of Milk in New Zealand. Actually, at the entrance of the town, you will see a huge cow, the symbol of this productivity.
To be honest, I am not a fan of “The Lord of the ring” or “The Hobbit” but I really enjoyed the visit. It is quite expensive but I would say it definitely worth it. The way they recreated such a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, gives some magic and fairy. Not one details are missing, it is amazing. You have the possibility to have a quick look at the inside of one of the Hobbit’s house. During the tour, which is guided, they explain and give some stories about the shoot which is quite interesting. But the bonus of Hobbiton is the gorgeous landscape!
So yes, Te Aroha might not be well known from the travellers. But it still has some attractions that worth coming or, staying for a couple of days.