Hiking in the Waikato

Explore the Waikato by Foot

The Waikato has some wonderful hidden gems that can only be explored by foot, and the range of walking tracks in the region mean there’s something for everyone.

From mountains to rivers, streams to waterfalls, the Waikato really does have it all when it comes to hiking. Whether you’ve got trail shoes or tramping boots, you’re guaranteed to find a Waikato walk that suits your interests, abilities and fitness levels.

Conveniently situated in the rural town of Cambridge, access to walks along the Waikato river, up or around Maungatautari Mountain is easy. A highlight of the area is the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, established in 2002. The aim of the Trust was to restore the mountain’s biodiversity. A visit here can be easily combined with walking on the first section of the Waikato River Trails.

Outdoor enthusiasts and passionate owner operators of Bike Hike Stay, Greta and Tony know the area well and are happy to offer their recommendations for Waikato walks. They can also provide a shuttle service to make accessing the trails easier.

Below are some of the best walks surrounding Cambridge, but for a list of other popular walks and hikes beyond Hamilton, visit Hamilton Waikato.

For more information or to book, please contact us to arrange your journey.

Bikes and helmets available for hire from $40/bike


Bike Hike Stay can provide transportation for guests wishing to explore the region. A shuttle service and airport shuttle that seats up to 10 people are available for a small surcharge. Please contact us if you wish to arrange this service.

Maungatautari Mountain

While there are several access tracks to the summit of this ancient volcano, the entrance from Hicks Rd, off Maungatautari Rd, is the closest to Cambridge. The well-marked route to the summit takes less than two hours; the full traverse to Tarai Road, a moderate-to-difficult hike, takes between five and six hours. Take adequate food and water supplies and be sure to make return transport arrangements from Pukeatua if you plan to complete the traverse.

Grade: Easy-moderate-difficult Distance: Various Time: Approx 2-6 hours

Hamilton Gardens to Hamilton City

The walk from Hamilton Gardens into the city centre, enables visitors to enjoy the grandeur of New Zealand’s longest river, and will bring you to Hamilton’s historic southern end. Many of the city’s heritage buildings are concentrated at the south end of Victoria Street, between Collingwood and Knox Streets. The Waikato Museum and ArtsPost Gallery, situated on the banks of the river, are also worth a visit. Hayes Common is a popular neighbourhood eatery halfway between the Gardens and the City, and makes an ideal coffee stop. Further fare can be enjoyed from one of Hamilton’s many vibrant cafes once you reach your destination.

Grade: Easy Distance: 4km Time: Approx 1 hour

Cambridge walkways

‘Discover Cambridge, where recreation is a lifestyle’, is the heading on the official iSite map of this attractive and historic town. Taking to the walking trails around the Waikato township, whether it be a wetlands, heritage or suburban stroll, will guarantee you see the best Cambridge has to offer. Greta or Tony will be able to recommend their favourites, or check out the options on the iSite website, including the Maungakawa Scenic Reserve.

Grade: Various Distance: Various Time: Various