Te Aroha is a rural town in the Waikato region of New Zealand with a population of 3,768 (2006 census). It is 53 km northeast of Hamilton and 50 km south of Thames. It sits at the foot of 952-metre Mount Te Aroha, the highest point in the Kaimai Range. (from Wikipedia) GOOGLE MAPS
Te Aroha is a pretty interesting place these days, and about to get more interesting. The Hauraki Rail Trail opens this week, and Allan at the Outdoor Adventure Shop has a raft of new bikes all ready for hire. We stepped over the bikes, however, and signed up for a couple of kayaks, at $35 a seat.
For another $10 each, Allan drove us up the winding historic Waihou River , to get onto the water. In spite of a broken rudder – no worries, he said it’ll just be a bit wobbly – and an unscheduled dip into the river – it was wobbly, and sludgy – it was a great way to experience the former waterway which flows down into the Firth of Thames. Alan’s daughters met us to retrieve the kayaks, and we headed off in search of a hot soak in a thermal pool. More on this story
The glorious private pools were fully booked – note to self – book before leaving home – but the public pool in the Domain has fresh mineral soda spa pool which soaked away my coldness and soothed my tension from the capsize. Link
Warm and dry we set off in search of coffee, tea and chocolate, which we found at Berlisconi’s on the main street. The Italianate patio was a perfect place for a spot of sun, and a good laugh about the adventure. Danielle could not resist the paua fritter, chosen from the tapas menu. Berlisconi’s is a surprisingly good restaurant , with quirky staff and a great location, right under the perfectly formed and slightly foreboding Te Aroha, or Love Mountain.
We plan to return for a whole weekend, to walk up that mountain, tackle the bike trail, and soak for half an hour in one of those private pools. Then there are some promising second hand shops, the gorgeous Edwardian Domain for a picnic, a most intriguing textile art gallery , interesting streetscapes, and no doubt other delights as yet unknown. Local Website
Although there are some enticing B&Bs tucked into hillside roads , we will stay at the Te Aorha Holiday Park and Hot Pools . We can take the dog there, soak under the stars for $5.00, and maybe I’ll check out the new kayak prices next time!